(Reuters) - Anett Kontaveit brought Taiwan giant killer Hsieh Su-wei’s Miami Open run to a dramatic end with a 3-6 6-2 7-5 comeback win on Tuesday to become the first player through to the semi-finals.
For a place in the final she will face Ashleigh Barty, after the Australian beat Petra Kvitova 7-6(6) 3-6 6-2 in a night match that stretched into the wee hours of Wednesday morning following a long rain delay.
The 33-year-old Hsieh, having beaten Japan’s world number one Naomi Osaka in the third round and 13th seed Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth, looked poised to add the 21st-seeded Estonian to her list by racing to a 4-0 lead in the third set.
But Kontaveit, 10 years her junior, took a page from the Taiwanese player’s own book and dug in.
“I was so close to being out of there so many times,” Kontaveit told reporters. “I just tried to keep fighting and trying to stay in there and try and still be aggressive somehow.
“I was trying to think more about what I have to do than about the score.”
In her third round win over Osaka, 27th seed Hsieh rallied from a set and break down but this time the tables were turned.
Kontaveit bravely battled back to get on level terms and, with Hsieh serving at 6-5 to force a tiebreak, moved in for the kill, breaking the tiring Taiwanese to clinch a stirring win.
“Today probably wasn’t the best match that I have ever played but I’m so happy to be through that,” said Kontaveit. “I feel like I fought really well and I never gave up.
“I’m really, really happy with the improvements I’m making and being more positive with myself, whatever the score is, and all these little things that are getting better.”
The Estonian’s road to the final will go through 12th seed Barty, who emerged from a nearly three-hour battle of attrition with Czech third seed Kvitova.
Kvitova trailed 3-0 in the deciding set but roared back, breaking Barty to get back on serve.
But the Australian steadied and closed it out for her first career win in five attempts against Kvitova, who double-faulted on match point, sending a tame serve into the net.
The match came only hours after a man who stabbed Kvitova in her home was sentenced in a Czech regional court.
Kvitova suffered severe wounds to her left playing hand as she struggled with the intruder, identified by the court as Radim Zondra, in her flat during the attack in December 2016.
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto and Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Ken Ferris/Sudipto Ganguly