Lisicki edges Pennetta, faces Jankovic in semis
INDIAN WELLS, California (Reuters) - Sabine Lisicki staved off three match points before battling into the last four at the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday, the German edging out defending champion Flavia Pennetta 6-4 6-7(3) 7-6(4) in an enthralling contest.
The 24th seed advances to face Jelena Jankovic in the semi-finals on Friday after the Serb progressed when Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko retired from their last eight encounter with an ankle injury while trailing 6-1 4-1.
Lisicki nearly sealed a straight sets win when she earned her first match point while holding a 5-4 advantage in the second before the Italian produced a magical shot to spark a rally that leveled the match.
Pennetta then forged three match points of her own at 5-4 in the decider before Lisicki fought back to claim victory in a tiebreaker.
"It's unbelievable," Lisicki said in a courtside interview.
"It's such a great feeling to be part of such a great match. She saved a match point with an unbelievable backhand. I could not have done much different there and then I saved three match points in the third set.
"It was just an unbelievable feeling to play in front of all of you," she added for the fans.
Former champion Jankovic, meanwhile, broke an error-prone Tsurenko twice to breeze through the opening set in 22 minutes and twice more in the second before the Ukrainian walked across to her opponent and told her the match was over.