MELBOURNE, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro became the first player through to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open as she dug herself out of a hole to beat Estonian Anett Kontaveit 4-6 6-4 8-6 on Sunday.
Kontaveit was bidding to reach the last eight of a grand slam for the first time and the 22-year-old had victory in her grasp when she took the first set and broke twice to lead 4-1 in the second set on a muggy day alongside the Yarra river.
Unseeded Suarez Navarro was given heart when Kontaveit double-faulted to hand one break of serve back and the 29-year-old stormed back to take the second set.
The deciding set was a real battle and Kontaveit again looked like closing it out when she broke at 4-4 but she faltered and was broken as she served for the match.
Suarez Navarro enjoyed an outrageous slice of luck when Kontaveit served to stay in the match at 6-7, striking a forehand that hit the net tape twice before wobbling over to give her a second match point.
She missed that one but on her third opportunity Kontaveit smacked a forehand long to send Suarez Navarro into the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park for the third time where she will face either second seed Caroline Wozniacki or Magdalena Rybarikova. (Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)