Croatia’s Petra Martic reached her first career Grand Slam quarterfinal in five attempts by recording tour-leading 15th match on clay this season with a come-from-behind victory over Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi at Roland Garros.
The 31st-seeded Martic recovered from a break down in both the second and third sets to triumph 5-7 6-2 6-4 in two hours and 12 minutes. The crucial moment in the decider was in the eighth game, when Martic fended off multiple break points and then went on to break Kanepi in the following game by running down a drop shot and placing a forehand winner for a 5-4 lead, which she capitalized on in the next game by converting her first match point.
“I waited for this moment so, so long I don’t even want to know how long,” said Martic, who first played the fourth round at Roland Garros seven years ago.
The Istanbul champion Martic lost just two matches during the 2019 claycourt season and a lot of credit is given to her coach Sandra Zaniewska, a 27-year-old Pole whose highest WTA ranking was No.142. Listening to her gut feeling paid off for Martic, as we can see by this quote that the WTA Insider shared on Twitter:
People underestimated it, people even laughed at it, said I did a crazy thing, what am I doing? I’m not serious about my career because she’s so young and inexperienced.
But I always knew, I heard this girl talking about tennis and I knew she knows what she’s doing.
Have a look at how Zaniewska motivated Martic to keep going during the Charleston semifinal against Caroline Wozniacki. The 28-year-old Martic lost that encounter, but ever since has lost just one match on clay.
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) April 6, 2019
Martic’s next opponent at the French Open will be fellow first-time major quarterfinalist Marketa Vondrousova, as the unseeded Czech upset seed No.12 Anastasija Sevastova 6-2 6-0 in 59 minutes on Sunday.