Hobart, Australia, 12 January 2012 | AAP
Defending champion Jarmila Gajdosova has seen off a spirited fight from Fed Cup teammate Anastasia Rodionova to advance to the quarterfinals at the Hobart International.
Gajdosova produced just enough to edge the fiercely competitive world No.107, 6-3 1-6 6-4 as she looks to rebuild her confidence after her Hopman Cup tears and in time for the Australian Open.
The world No.34 is on the cusp of being seeded for the Open, where she hasn’t won a match in six attempts.
Gajdosova looked to be on her way when she raced through the first set in half an hour but lost the last four games of the second struggling for consistency on her first serve.
The first serves she did land produced nine aces, and she saw off a Rodionova fightback with two in the fifth game of the second set to ensure she remained up a break at 4-1.
Rodionova had come to play, though, and broke back for 4-3 before saving three break points for 4-4.
But the champion brought up match point with a scorching forehand winner in the 10th game to claim the match when Rodionova netted.
The Slovakian-born 24-year-old will play German surprise packet Mona Barthel, the world No.64 who beat second seed Spaniard Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-1 6-4.
Gajdosova admitted she desperately wanted the Open monkey off her back.
“It means a lot to me if I could progress and it would be a big thing to get it off my chest,” she said.
“I would be very excited if I was (seeded) because it would mean that I belonged in the top 32 inside of a grand slam which is the biggest stage we have.
“If I don’t, my first and only goal will be to go through that first round and do everything possible to do so.
“I can’t get any worse draw than I’ve had. I had Serena , I had Wickmayer, I had them all.
“You name them I played them. I had Sharapova, I had literally everybody.”
Meanwhile, Sacha Jones is unlikely to consider her first tournament as an Australian a failure after stretching sixth seed Shahar Peer before going down 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 in a rain delayed match that finished more than seven-and-a-half hours after it started.
Jones had four set points in the first but the beginning of the end for her was signalled by a YouTube moment, wildly skying a sitter of a smash into the stadium carpark.
“I was just looking saying thanks to God and that’s it,” Peer said.
“That’s the best I could do.
“It’s a tough point to miss actually.”
Peer said the incessant rain delays on a day that reached just 14C had made it difficult.
“I was reading a book, just trying to stay warm and when they told me 10 minutes I started to warm up four times,” she said.
Peer, who reached the final in 2010, will meet Russian Anna Chakvetadze in the quarter-finals.
The other quarters feature Yanina Wickmayer playing Simona Halep and Sorana Cirstea taking on Angelique Kerber.