Donna Vekic, the 15-year-old prodigy from Croatia, stumbled from a position of strength and then recovered to see off the top-seeded Belgian Tamaryn Hendler in the quarterfinals of the $25,000 QNet ITF Open women's tennis championship.
At the KSLTA courts here on Thursday, Vekic, who had a stranglehold on Hendler at 6-3, 4-0, saw the Belgian fight back before finally prevailing 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3 in almost three hours.
With India's Kyra Shroff winning 6-3, 6-4 against Thailand's Nungnadda Wannasuk, the Ugadi crowd on Friday is in for a mouth watering semifinal contest against Vekic.
Hendler, at 212, is the highest ranked player in the field here, but her game until Thursday afternoon was nothing to cheer about. Meanwhile, Vekic sizzled with some superb forehand winners to be a set and 4-0 up.
With nothing to lose, Hendler stepped up her game and played some incredible shots, passing her rival with ease on either flanks.
Inching to a five-all scoreline the 21-year-old from Belgium went ahead 6-5 but allowed Vekic to hold the 12th game and take the set into tiebreaker.
In the decider the games went with serve for the first four games before Hendler double faulted twice and was broken in the sixth before Vekic wrapped up the match.
The other semifinal will be between the second-seeded Akiko Omae of Japan and the fourth-seeded Chilean Andrea Koch-Benvenuto.
The doubles semifinal involving Indians Rushmi Chakravarthi and Ankita Raina against the Belgian- Austrian duo of Hendler and Melanie Klaffner was put off to Friday morning owing to bad light after the latter won the first set 7-5.
Singles (Quarterfinals): Akiko Omae (Jpn) bt Melis Sezer (Tur) 6-4, 6-1; Andrea Koch-Benvenuto (Chi) bt Melanie Klaffner (Aut) 6-2 (conceded); Donna Vekic (Cro) bt Tamaryn Hendler (Bel) 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3; Kyro Shroff (Ind) bt Nungnadda Wannasuk (Tha) 6-3, 6-4.
Doubles (Semifinals): Tadeja Majeric (Slo) / Anja Prislan (Slo) bt Deniz Khazaniuk (Isr) / Ya Zhou (Chn) 6-3, 6-1.