Adelaide, Jan 6 (MNN) Sofia Kenin pulled off a Houdini act in her second match of the season and for second year running to beat Ajla Tomljanovic 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-3 to reach Adelaide International quarter-finals.
The number 6 seed battled back from a set and 5-3 down and saved three match points serving at 5-6 to win the match in 2 hours and 30 minutes.
This time last year, Kenin had saved a match point while trailing 6-3, 6-5 before overcoming Yulia Putintseva 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 in the third round of Abu Dhabi.
It was at the same juncture of the match that she came up with two brave forehands to deny Tomljanovic, before the Australian netted a makeable counterdrop on her third match point.
Kenin is contesting her first tournament since Wimbledon last year, and as in her first-round victory over qualifier Lucia Bronzetti showed both vintage form and significant rust.
The 2020 Australian Open champion’s in-and-out form made any given passage of play unpredictable, and even when she had seized the momentum in the deciding set she still conceded two breaks back before getting over the line.
Kenin will next face another local favourite in the quarterfinals – number 1 seed Ashleigh Barty, who leads their overall head-to-head 4-2.
However, Kenin will have fond memories of their last meeting, and only one on Australian soil – a 7-6(6), 7-5 triumph in the 2020 Australian Open semi-finals.
Earlier, an unseeded second-round clash saw Misaki Doi hold off Anastasia Gasanova 7-6(4), 6-3 to reach her first WTA 500 quarterfinal since Osaka 2019.
Doi dominated with her left-handed forehand to take a 4-0 lead before Gasanova fought back to win five straight games and serve for the set.
However, Doi steadied the ship to force a tiebreak and draw away in the second set.