Harriet Dart is expected to return to the top 100 after defeating fifth seed Elisabetta Cocciaretto to reach the quarterfinals of the Transylvania Open.
The 27-year-old, who survived qualifying, recovered from a set down and 0-3 down to claim a 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 win in Cluj-Napoca. It is the fifth time Dart has reached the last eight of a WTA Tour event, but the first time she has not been on British turf. Their last such run was in Birmingham last summer.
After starting the week at number 103, Dart is now all but certain of moving into the top 100 alongside fellow Brits Katie Boulter and Jodie Burrage after falling down the rankings last year. Dart appeared to be heading for the exit when, at 5-4 in the opening game, she was unable to win three set points and lost six games in a row.
But she fought back, capitalized on her third chance to win the second set and then stayed ahead in the deciding set despite an injury timeout for treatment on her neck.
“I had a few set points in the first set and couldn’t convert them, but I thought she played well on the big points,” Dart said.
“In tennis the margins are so small. Even if it’s 3-0, there’s always a chance and you just have to keep fighting. I had a small chance and was able to take advantage of it. I just try to build on every game. It was great to be able to play a lot of games here in qualifying and get used to the surface. I really enjoy my time in Cluj.”
Dart faces unseeded Spaniard Nuria Párrizas Díaz for a place in the semi-finals.
Her compatriot Heather Watson’s run at the Abu Dhabi Open ended in the round of 16. Watson, who scored an impressive victory over world number 16 Veronika Kudermetova in the previous round, was beaten 7-6 (1). , 7-5 by Spanish lucky loser Cristina Bucsa.