Household Names Klepac, Paszek Into Portoroz Quarters

Posted on September 22, 2006

PORTOROZ, Slovenia -- A pair of emerging stars burst into their first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour quarterfinals Thursday in Portoroz. One overcame the pressure of playing in front of her home crowd, while one tamed the nerves of playing in just her third Tour main draw; but both Andreja Klepac and Tamira Paszek emerged victorious.

Inspired by the support of her Slovenian home crowd, the 20-year-old Klepac played a high level of aggressive tennis throughout her 75 46 61 upset victory over No.5-seeded Romina Oprandi. She regrouped at two key junctures in the match: after allowing a 4-2 first set lead to dissipate, and after dropping the second set. The third set was a small fraction of the over-two-hour match, her first against a Top 50 player.

"It is unbelievable here, to play on such court and in front of such an audience; this is my best result ever," said Klepac, who is playing just her fourth career Tour main draw. "I had a few ups and downs, but then I realized I didn't have anything to lose so I played more relaxed. It was a tough match."

Although she owned a Tour resume comparable to Klepac coming into this event, at 15 years old, Paszek seemed to be an even more unlikely candidate to reach the round of eight; but she came through as well, on Thursday crushing unseeded Czech Iveta Benesova, 61 62.

"I played really well today, and I'm happy to be in the quarters," said Paszek, who reached the second round in both of her previous Tour main draws, at Linz last season and in Istanbul earlier this year. "I just go out, play my game, focus on every point and try my best. This crowd is unbelievable; it's just a great atmosphere and I'm really happy here."

In addition to Klepac (a wildcard) and Paszek (a qualifier), a pair of seeds also won through to the quarterfinals Thursday. No.7 seed Emilie Loit beat unseeded Czech Zuzana Ondraskova, 36 63 63, while No.9 seed Jarmila Gajdosova held off a late match charge from Georgian non-seed Margalita Chakhnashvili to win, 62 64. Both Gajdosova and Loit have been to this stage of a Tour event before; the Slovak teenager reached the quarters at Budapest three years ago, while the French veteran is playing her 30th career quarterfinal, having gone 13-16 in her previous 29 attempts.

All four quarterfinals take the court Friday. The highest seed remaining, Martina M?(No.4), faces Tathiana Garbin (No.8); Maria Elena Camerin (No.6) plays Martina Sucha (unseeded); Klepac plays Paszek; and Loit takes on Gajdosova.

This is the second staging of the Banka Koper Slovenia Open. In its debut last year, the Czech Republic's Klara Zakopalova beat Slovenia's Katarina Srebotnik in the final. This year, a top-seeded Srebotnik and an unseeded Zakopalova were ousted in the opening round.
-- WTA