CARLSBAD, Calif. – Qualifier Chan Yung-Jan of Taiwan saved two match points and rallied for a 6-7 (4), 7-6 (8), 7-5 win over third-seeded Jelena Jankovic to advance to the semifinals of the Mercury Insurance Open on Friday.
After holding off two match points to win the second-set tiebreaker, Chan ran off three straight games to take a 5-2 lead in the third. However, Jankovic tied the match at 5 before Chan held serve for a 6-5 lead.
Chan then got her third career win against a top-20 player in the next game when Jankovic hit a backhand long to end the 3-hour, 13-minute quarterfinals match.
"I thought the match was really a mental game between us," Chan said of the second longest WTA match this season.
Chan will next face top-seeded Marion Bartoli of France, a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 winner over No. 5 seed Christina McHale of the U.S.
Bartoli beat the U.S. Olympian despite serving 11 double faults, including seven in the second set. The win marked only the second time Bartoli has won consecutive matches in her last 10 tournaments.
I thought after I got the first set, if I could keep the pressure on, I could go through in two," Bartoli said. "But my serve let me down in second and I decided to focus on that shot first. I started to serve better. I was winning my serve easier and then I was able to put pressure on her serve and that was the turning point."
Bartoli ended the 2-hour, 50-minute match when she ripped a cross-court forehand winner.
"(Jankovic) looked like she was out of the match and tired and didn't want to hang there," Chan said about taking a 5-2 lead in the third set in her match. "But I knew that she was going to come back."
In addition to the match points, Chan also had to overcome heat exhaustion. Trailing 3-2 in the second set, Chan called for a trainer on court.
Chan, ranked No. 161, trailed 6-5 and was two points away from losing in the second set when she forced the tiebreak. The 20th-ranked Jankovic had two match points but Chan hit a backhand winner on the first and her Serbian opponent missed a backhand shot on the second.
"I lost my focus and I kind of brought her back into the match," Jankovic said. "When I lost that second set, it was so tough mentally and, of course, physically because we are playing in the heat."
No. 2 seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia won her second consecutive match in straight sets with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Poland's Ursula Radwanska.
Cibulkova reached her second semifinal of the season where she will face fourth-seeded Nadia Petrova. The Russian defeated U.S. Olympian Varvara Lepchenko, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (5).