More Mikaelian magic

Mikaelian celebrates another major upset Keystone

Swiss teenager Marie-Gaïané Mikaelian has continued her amazing run at the Swisscom Challenge tennis tournament by demolishing Russia's Tatiana Panova.

This content was published on October 19, 2001 minutes

Following her astonishing first round win over Russian seventh seed Elena Dementieva on Tuesday, Mikaelian put in another convincing performance on Thursday - beating Panova 6-1, 6-3 - to set up a tantalising quarter-final tie with world number one Jennifer Capriati

Great match

"I played well and was really concentrated," a delighted Mikaelian told swissinfo afterwards. "The crowd were fully behind me again and it was just a great match."

Once again the Swiss player showed no sign of nerves in front of the Kloten crowd. Indeed it was her Russian opponent, ranked more than more than 60 places above Mikaelian in the world standings, who appeared jittery as the match got underway.

Starting off with two double faults in succession, Panova was broken by the young Swiss in the very first game.

After comfortably holding her own service game, the 17-year-old from Lausanne then went 3-0 up, benefiting from yet another Panova double fault on the last point of game three.

"I think I managed to put some pressure on her at the beginning," Mikaelian recalled. "I was a bit nervous too, but I didn't show it."

Powerful groundstrokes

With Panova playing well below her best, Mikaelian shone. Combining a strong serve with well-placed, powerful groundstrokes, the Swiss player remained untroubled on her own service games, and again broke Panova to take the first set 6-1.

The second set was a slightly closer affair with Panova holding her first three service games prior to a worrying interlude when Mikaelian called an injury-timeout.

But after receiving minor treatment on her shin the Swiss revelation returned to action and within two games had broken Panova for what proved the final time.

Successfully serving for the match to send the crowd into raptures, Mikaelian completed her second remarkable win of the week in just 62 minutes.

And with Jennifer Capriati now waiting in the last eight, Mikaelian has been rewarded with the biggest challenge of her career to date.

"I didn't really think about the possibility of playing Capriati," insisted on Thursay. "I've just been taking each match as it comes. It's still like a dream, but I wouldn't be stepping out on court against Capriati if I didn't think I had a chance to win. I will try to play my best again and with all the crowd behind me it should be great."

Quarter-final line-up complete

Mikaelian was the last player to seize a place in the final eight. Earlier on Thursday Slovakian qualifier Daniela Hantuchova continued her impressive showing in Kloten, beating Austria's Barbara Schett 6-1, 7-6 to set up a quarter-final meeting with American third seed Lindsay Davenport.

Sandrine Testud will take on Nathalie Tauziat in a battle of the tournament's two French seeds, after Testud succeeded in seeing off former French Open winner Iva Majoli in straight sets.

Yugoslavian fourth seed Jelena Dokic downed America's Chanda Rubin 6-4, 6-4 to book a quarter-final tie with Italian eighth seed Silvia Farina Elia.

by Mark Ledsom, Kloten

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