Jelena Ostapenko played the role of escape artist on Wednesday in Charleston, saving a match point to defeat local favourite Shelby Rogers.
Ostapenko, the 10th seed, trailed 5-1 in the final set and saved a match point when 2-5, 30-40 down before eventually winning 4-6 6-3 7-6(4).
Tight tiebreak goes to Jelena Ostapenko. From 4-4, hits a big backhand winner, forehand winner, forehand winner, to complete the comeback.
Ostapenko comes from 1-5 down and saves MP to defeat Shelby Rogers 46 63 76(4) to advance to R16 @VolvoCarOpen.
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) April 3, 2019
She goes on to face Madison Keys, who stopped Tatjana Maria 6-4 in the third set of their second-round match.
Ostapenko reached the final of the Charleston tournament in 2017, before going on to win the French Open two months later.
Since then, she has slipped to world No.31 and had not won back-to-back matches at a tournament since last year’s US Open, struggling with a wrist injury that disrupted her off-season.
The Latvian beat Johanna Larsson in the first round in straight sets.
“Honestly I don’t know how I did it – I was just trying to put more balls (in the court) and when I had a chance I was just trying to go for it,” Ostapenko told Tennis Channel.
“I just know that I have nothing to lose. Today was already 5-1, and I was just trying to fight and I just told myself OK, just gonna try to put the ball in and just play my game, just try to enjoy it . Because it’s great to play in Charleston – I have great memories from here.
“I think honestly when you have those tough matches, when you win by a little bit, like 7-6 in the third set and you play for almost three hours, I think it gives you much more confidence than (if) you win like 6-1 6-1.
“I think I needed those matches and the more the better, and I hope they will help me to get my confidence back.”
While Rogers, a wildcard who hails from Charleston, was unable to score victory, several of her compatriots did.
In addition to Keys, 11th seed Danielle Collins got through to the third round with a 6-3 7-6(2) win over Aliona Bolsova of Spain, while Taylor Townsend and Jessica Pegula scored stunning upsets of No.7 seed Julia Goerges and No.4 seed Anastasija Sevastova respectively.
Joining those seeds on the sidelines was sixth seed Elise Mertens, who dropped a bagel on Kaia Kanepi before losing 0-6 6-0 7-5.
Kanepi, who was overshadowed by fellow Estonian Anett Kontaveit last week when Kontaveit rose to a best-ever Estonian ranking of No.14, next faces Collins.
Ninth seed Belinda Bencic continued her smooth progress; after beating Australian qualifier Destanee Aiava 6-3 6-0 in the first round, she routed Allie Kiick 6-0 6-3 to reach the last 16, where she meets Townsend – a replay of the junior Wimbledon final of 2013.
|Through to third round||Out in second round|
| Aryna Sabalenka|| Anastasija Sevastova|
| Caroline Wozniacki|| Elise Mertens|
| Madison Keys|| Julia Goerges|
| Belinda Bencic|| Sofia Kenin|
| Jelena Ostapenko|
| Danielle Collins|
| Mihaela Buzarnescu|
| Ajla Tomljanovic|
| Maria Sakkari|
| Petra Martic|
The highest seeds to progress on Wednesday were No.3 Aryna Sabalenka and No.5 Caroline Wozniacki.
Sabalenka saw off Kateryna Kozlova in three sets to set up a third-round meeting with 2016 Olympic champion Monica Puig, who appears to be finding form after a straight-sets dismissal of 13th seed Sofia Kenin.
Wozniacki brushed Laura Siegemund aside 6-2 6-2 and will now meet No.12 seed Mihaela Buzarnescu.
Romania’s Buzarnescu won back-to-back matches for the first time since August last year with a 6-3 6-2 win over Lauren Davis.
Also advancing to the third round were seeds Ajla Tomljanovic (14), Maria Sakkari (15) and Petra Martic (16).
Everyone who progressed on Wednesday joined top two seeds Sloane Stephens and Kiki Bertens in the last 16.
Stephens, the 2016 Charleston winner, and Bertens, the defending champion, won their second-round matches on Tuesday.
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