By Mark Elkington
MADRID (Reuters) - Jelena Jankovic thrashed local favorite Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-2 6-0 to make the quarter-finals of the Madrid Open but it was a gutsy display from Aravane Rezai that caught the eye on Thursday.
Seventh-seed Jankovic got over a shaky start to the tournament, when she was taken to three sets by Serbian compatriot Ana Ivanovic on Wednesday, and made light work of her Spanish opponent on center court.
She will have done well to conserve her energy as she is likely to face a much tougher match on Friday against the unseeded Rezai of France.
The spirited 23-year-old survived a nail-biting tiebreak to beat Germany's Andrea Petkovic 6-4 7-6.
"I like fighting like I did today and asking questions of myself," Rezai told reporters.
"It gives me a lot of confidence to win matches with a tiebreak like that. I could have won more easily but she played well in the important points."
Rezai's power and aggression unsettled her taller opponent throughout, but her haste to finish off the match almost cost her dear in the second-set tiebreak.
She had bustled into a 6-1 lead but appeared to lose her cool over the time Petkovic was taking between serves.
The German fought back to level at 6-6 after some wild shots from Rezai, but she could not complete the comeback.
Petkovic lost 10-8 and left the court in tears while Rezai milked the applause of the Madrid crowd.
Afterwards, Petkovic likened Rezai's style to that of Serena Williams, who she lost to in Rome last week.
"The groundstrokes are very similar. The velocity of the ball is almost the same," she said, before explaining why she broke down in tears at the end.
"It was such an emotional game and that's just the way I am."
Eighth seed Samantha Stosur set up a quarter-final meeting with Venus Williams beating Switzerland's Patty Schnyder 7-6 6-2.
The Australian is in a rich vein of form, and reached a career high number eight in the singles rankings earlier this month. She's in a strong position to improve on last year's semi-final appearance at Roland Garros.
"I think I've been playing well since Indian Wells (hard)...and it's just kept running on to clay," the 26-year-old Stosur told reporters.
"I enjoy playing on clay. It's just one of those things of winning several matches in a row and building confidence."
China's Li Na, the 13th seed, battered Ukraine's Alona Bondarenko 6-3 6-4 and will play Israel's unseeded Shahar Peer in the last eight.
Peer saw off Spaniard Arantxa Parra Santonja 7-5 6-2.
The fourth quarter-final pairing of Czech 16th seed Lucie Safarova against Russia's Nadia Petrova was decided on Wednesday
(Writing by Mark Elkington, editing by Pritha Sarkar)