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Unseeded Austrian continues hot streak

Tamira Paszek celebrates after taking a point off Caroline Wozniacki.
by Ian Baker
Saturday 30 June 2012

Battling Tamira Paszek was seeing double. The in-form Austrian had to use every ounce of mental strength to come back from a poor first set to defeat a tall, blonde woman who had threaten to blow her off court, such was the power in the shots.

It was not Caroline Wozniacki, the No. 7 seed she upset in the first round, though. This time it was Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium, but the similarities between the two matches were striking.

Paszek eventually won this marathon match 2-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5 in two hours and 40 minutes of gripping tennis to extend her overall sequence to eight consecutive victories on grass.

Paszek went into the match full of confidence having won at Eastbourne last week and shocking Wozniacki on Tuesday, however she looked surprisingly nervy for someone in arguably the form of her life.

Wickmayer looked far from overawed, and Paszek was undone by the sheer power of the 6ft Belgian who raced to a 3-0 lead. Paszek was struggling to even win a point, although she briefly hit back by winning the fourth and fifth games before Wickmayer ran away with the first set.

Paszek, though, recovered in the second set and with the help of some beautiful forehand winners and some inconsistent play from Wickmayer found a way back into the contest, racing to a 3-0 lead. This was proving to be an edge-of-your-seats contest and Wickmayer soon got it back to 4-4. But then the pair exchanged further breaks and the second set was settled on a tiebreaker, 7-4 to the Austrian, who levelled the match with a dream backhand pass.

The momentum was firmly with Pazek as she immediately broke to take an early 2-0 lead despite a blistered thumb.

Wickmayer was not to be outdone though and from 4-2 down came back to 5-4 with two further breaks to put her on the brink of the fourth round. Paszek’s incredible will to win helped her to come back though with some brave hitting rescuing the match.

With both players struggling with their serve it was Paszek who broke again to clinch a fine victory, and she will now take on Italian No. 21 seed Roberta Vinci who saw off the hard-working veteran qualifier Mirjana Lucic, of Croatia, in a tale of two tie-breaks.

Lucic reached the semi-finals here in 1999 as a 17-year-old and beat Marion Bartoli, the No. 9 seed, in the second round, so Vinci could forget all about having an easy afternoon. So it proved.

Even after the Italian had broken to take a 2-1 lead, wily old campaigner Lucic came straight back to break immediately. It was no surprise that the set went to a tie-breaker with the Croat fiercely competitive throughout, although Vinci had enough nous to close the first set out 7-4 in the ‘breaker.

Lucic was never realistically troubling the Vinci serve although she held her own in the second set, not wanting to give up all her good work this week without a fight. It went with serve before the Italian clinched the tiebreak 7-3 to claim a piece of her own history – this was the first time Vinci has ever reached a Grand Slam fourth round.

 


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