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By Richard Pagliaro | Thursday, July 23, 2015

Kirsten Flipkens

Kirsten Flipkens dismissed fourth-seeded Alize Cornet, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2, to reach her second quarterfinal of the season in Istanbul.

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Clanking two double faults in a row to drop serve, Alize Cornet plopped down in her court-side seat and draped a pink towel over her head in a physical do not disturb pose.

It was one of those days when Cornet looked like she wanted to make the world go away.

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The fourth-seeded Cornet couldn't do much to displace Kirsten Flipkens. The world No. 101 rallied for a 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory to advance to the Istanbul quarterfinals.

It's the second quarterfinal of the season for Flipkens, who reached the last eight on the hard court of Katowice in April. The former world No. 13 had failed to survive the first round in eight of her prior 15 tournaments, including a draining three-set loss to Cornet in Dubai last February.

Flipkens turned the tables today varying the depth of her low slice backhand the thumping her inside-out forehand when she had Cornet on the stretch.

"It was a tough match; against Alize all matches are very close," Flipkens said afterward. "I think Alize was just playing great tennis in the first set. It was like 42 minutes, we had very close games the first set. The second set was to my advantage and the third set I tried to pull it off, which worked, so I'm very happy."

Flipkens will face Francesca Schiavone for a place in the final four. The 2010 French Open champion stopped fifth-seeded Camila Giorgi, 6-4, 7-6 (6) in 98 minutes.

Cornet was the sixth seed to fall from the draw, including top-seeded Venus Williams, second-seeded Elina Svitolina and No. 3 seeded Jelena Jankovic, who each failed to survive the first round.

No. 8 seeded Tsvetana Pironkova is the only seed still standing. Pironkova broke serve eight times dispatching Kurumi Nara 6-3, 1-6, 6-1. Pironkova will play Urszula Radwanska in the quarterfinals. The 99th-ranked Radwanska knocked former No. 1 Jankovic out in the opener and backed it up beating Bojana Jovanovski.

Qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko continued her strong run. Bondarenko beat Bastad runner-up Mona Barthel, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. In an all-Ukraine quarterfinal, Bondarenko will play No. 71 Lesia Tsurenko, who reached the last eight for the first time since Indian Wells in March.

Flipkens struggled to hold at the outset.

Cornet broke for a 3-2 lead, sparking a three-game run. She scored her third break of the set, stretching the lead to 5-2. Playing deep crosscourt, Cornet coaxed successive forehand errors serving out the set at 30.

Flipkens held to halt a four-game slide then broke for a 2-0 second-set advantage. Fortune favored Flipkens on a second break point. Her forehand smacked into the top of the tape and dribbled over as the Belgian broke for 5-1. Flipkens converted her second set point when Cornet launched a forehand beyond the baseline.

Retreating to the locker room for a bathroom break, Cornet returned to court trying to recharge her body. She ran in place behind the baseline and loosened up her arm in rapid shadow swings, but the Frenchwoman was stuck in the rut down triple break point. Flipkens cranked a forehand return down the line, breaking at love to open the decider.

A fine reflex backhand volley set up a snapping high forehand volley as Flipkens consolidated for 2-0.

It only got worse for Cornet, who shouted "Allez!" after saving a second break point only to dump successive double faults, nearly crumbling to her knees after netting a second serve to donate the break and a 3-0 lead. Cornet spent the ensuing changeover with a pink towel covering her head, in a Vera Zvonareva style repose, opening the shroud only to ask a cameraman "can you please leave me alone?"

There was no reprieve on court.

Flipkens had won 10 of the last 11 games taking a 4-0 strong hold on the final set before Cornet finally held serve. Flipkens wrapped up the win in one hour, 57 minutes, her first victory over Cornet in nearly three years.


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