Nadia Petrova claimed her second big-name scalp in as many rounds with an upset win over third seed Svetlana Kuznetsova at the Australian Open today.
The 19th seed defeated her Russian countrywoman 6-3 3-6 6-1 just two days after thrashing US Open champion Kim Clijsters 6-0 6-1.
It has been a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for Petrova, who was beaten in the first round of both her lead-up tournaments in Brisbane and Hobart.
Petrova put her form reversal down to a new “all-or-nothing attitude” as she seeks to get back to the form that saw her ranked number three in the world in 2006.
“When I played Kim, before going on court, I said, ’it’s all or nothing, I got to give everything’ (and) I did,” she said.
“Same thing happened today. If I can continue doing this, I can get even further.”
The 27-year-old has been plagued by injuries in the past three years and admitted she felt like her career was in danger of finishing unfulfilled.
“That’s why I’m still here,” she said.
“That’s why I’m working hard and digging deep, because I know there’s still a lot to accomplish. I really want to finally be a complete player.
“I want to quit tennis knowing that I’ve done everything possible.”
Kuznetsova said she was not happy with the scheduling of her match but refused to blame it for her defeat.
The 24-year-old did not finish her third-round match against Angelique Kerber until 2am on Saturday morning, and said: “I had to go to bed at four in the morning. Next day, of course, I wake up early because I’m used to wake up at nine.
“I sleep only a few hours. I play a three set match of doubles. Then today they put me second.
“It changes things. But to play good and try to win grand slams, you have to be able to perform and to pass through difficult moments like this.
“Definitely it was not the best schedule for me, but it’s not an excuse at all. I had all the chances to win today, I just didn’t use it.”
Jie Zheng progressed to a grand slam quarter-final for the first time with a 7-6 (7/5) 6-4 win over the 31st seed Alona Bondarenko.
Zheng is one of two Chinese players still in the women’s draw with Li Na to play her fourth round match against fourth seed Caroline Wozniacki tomorrow.
It is the first time two Chinese players have gone so deep into a major and Zheng is hopeful it can help inspire the popularity of tennis in the Asian nation.
“I think we need more top players for the support to grow in China,” she said.
“I think we can both go a long way. I hope for a semi-final for both China players.
“Tennis is very quickly growing in China. It has been growing – you see it more in the Chinese newspapers.”
Tonight’s two matches showcase another all-Russian affair between second seed Dinara Safina and Maria Kirilenko, who knocked 2008 winner Maria Sharapova out in the first round.
The other match features two Belgians, with the returning Justine Henin to face world number 16 Yanina Wickmayer.