Playing for her adopted country of Australia for the first time, Daria Gavrilova got past Lucie Hradecka 7-6(3) 6-4 in the first round, then famously upset sixth seed Petra Kvitova in the second round 6-4 6-4, and is now through to the fourth round of the Australian Open with an epic 6-4 4-6 11-9 victory over seed No.28 Kristina Mladenovic.
Both players were equal for the great part of the first set, but it was Gavrilova who took charge in the later stages and raced away at the end of the set, 6-4. Gavrilova continued the momentum in the second set, but Mladenovic quickly managed to level and eventually forced the decider which developed into epic 96 minutes.
After seven games of the third set, Mladenovic was in a slight advantage, but Gavrilova soon raised her game and with two strong games got in the position to serve for the match. However, Gavrilova was impatient, wasted the big opportunity that came at 5-4, and then had to wait another ten games for the chance to finish the match victoriously.
The 21-year-old Gavrilova is so excited about making the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time that she can’t wait for her upcoming encounter with Spanish tenth seed Carla Suarez Navarro:
I just want to play again. I want to play again on Sunday. I’m just really happy. I can’t explain it.
The Australian also praised the support of the local crowd:
I’m just really excited and I want to hug the whole stadium.
This win gives Gavrilova her biggest pay day to date ($200,000) and a new career-high ranking within the Top 30. (photos: Jimmie48)