Flipkens fights back to beat Kuzmova

9 January 2019, by Leigh Rogers

Kirsten Flipkens recovered from a slow start to book her place in the Hobart International quarterfinals today.

The seventh-seeded Belgian defeated Slovakian Viktoria Kuzmova 6-7(3) 6-4 6-1 in the second round, reeling off seven consecutive games after trailing 2-4 in the second set.

“The first set was really good from both sides I think, but in the second set my level dropped a little bit,” Flipkens said.

“From 2-4 down I knew it was going to be difficult to come back, but nothing is impossible.”

Kuzmova’s confidence was high after a run to the Auckland semifinals last week, propelling the 20-year-old to a career-high ranking of No.46.

But Flipkens’ experience proved telling, with the Wimbledon 2013 semifinalist finding a way into the match when she looked on the verge of defeat.

“She’s a great player. If she’s in charge of the rally, it is tough for me,” Flipkens said.

“It was more up to me to be a little bit more aggressive with my game, coming up to the net a little more and get my first serve percentage up. That was the key today.”

In other matches, Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova moved into the quarterfinals with a 6-3 6-2 win over eighth seed Alison Van Uytvanck. While in a battle of two of the most promising young players on tour, Ukrainan Dayana Yastremska scored a 6-1 6-4 win over Belarusian Vera Lapko.

The 18-year-old Yastremska labelled it one of the best performances of her young career.

“I’ve played with her so many times and she is a really good player. Every time we play we have a really great match,” she said.

“Today I think was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my tennis career. In the second set it was really windy and she got back into the game, but I held myself and stayed calm.”

With no seeds left in a wide-open bottom half of the draw, Yastremska is emerging as a title contender. Yet the world No.58 is not looking that far ahead.

“My goal is just to play and see match by match,” she said.