German Julia Goerges survived a danger match against China’s Jie Zheng to move into the fourth round of the 2013 Australian Open and equal her career-best Grand Slam performance.
Goerges, the No.18 seed, won the third round clash 6-3 1-6 7-5 in two hours and 12 minutes on Show Court 3 on Friday.
“It was a great match from both of us. It could have gone either way,” Goerges said. “We had tough rallies, good shots and good winners.”
Zheng was high on confidence, having upstaged Australia’s Samantha Stosur in the second round by winning the final five games of the match after trailing 5-2 in the deciding set. She also had a winning record against the rising German, having beaten her in both of their previous meetings.
Zheng, ranked 40 and hoping to emulate her semifinal run at the 2010 Australian Open, looked set to pounce early, earning two break points on the Goerges serve in the opening game of the match.
The German responded though, winning the next 10 points with some aggressive and impressive tennis. She hit five winners in the opening two games and finished with 19 for the set, including four aces.
Goerges, who did serve for the first set at 5-1 before a gritty Zheng snared one break back, served out the opening set 6-3 in 44 minutes.
She was dictating play from the baseline, using her forehand to keep Zheng on the back foot. Goerges was also willing to move forward and won nine points from 10 net approaches.
Zheng has proved already this tournament she is a fighter and Friday’s match was no different. She broke Goerges early in the second set and jumped to a 4-0 lead.
The momentum of the match had completely swung. Not even a brief rain delay could slow down Zheng, as she took the set 6-1 in 33 minutes.
Unforced errors were the undoing of Goerges’ game, hitting 21 for the set and only managing five winners.
Games went on serve early in the deciding set, as Goerges lifted her game.
Zheng got the crucial break in the fifth game and then served for the match at 5-4, but was broken.
It was the breakthrough Goerges needed, as she won nine of the last 10 points to clinch victory. A forehand winner from Goerges, her 42nd winner of the match, sealed it 7-5.
Goerges will now face No.6 seed Li Na of China or No.27 seed Sorana Cirstea of Romania in the fourth round.