McHale rallies to reach Carlsbad quarterfinals

July 20, 2012 01:31 AM
Christina McHale hits a return to Misaki Doi during their second-round match.

CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) -- U.S. Olympian Christina McHale held off Misaki Doi of Japan 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 at the Mercury Insurance Open on Thursday, advancing to a quarterfinal against No. 1 seed Marion Bartoli of France.

McHale, the No. 5 seed, needed three match points in the last game before she closed out the second-round match when Doi hit a backhand into the net.

McHale faced 19 break points, but Doi only converted three.

"I have to give credit to Misaki because she played really, really well. She made it hard for me,'' McHale said. "For my next match, I'm going to have to serve a lot better. I'm just happy that I found a way to pull it out.''

No. 3 seed Jelena Jankovic overcame problems with her serve to claim a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over Melinda Czink.

Jankovic had a first-round bye and the former No. 1 player struggled throughout the match with her serve before closing it out in the third set.

"I was in trouble,'' said Jankovic, who was successful on only 55 percent of her first serves. "It wasn't easy. I was pushed. I had to change something.''

After the players traded service breaks, Jankovic broke the Hungarian's serve right back for a 4-3 lead and stayed ahead for good.

"It was one of those days when you don't play well and you don't really feel your shots, but I found a way to win,'' she said. "Those are the days when you have to grind it out and get through it.''

Jankovic reached the quarterfinals for the first time in six appearances here. The Serbian will play qualifier Yung-Jan Chan of Taiwan in the quarterfinals.

In other second-round matches, Ursula Radwanska of Poland cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 win over lucky loser Melanie Oudin, and No. 2 seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia was a 6-2, 6-4 winner against New Zealand's Marina Erakovic.

Radwanska, the younger sister of world No. 2 ranked Agnieszka Radwanska, served well and took advantage of the American's subpar serve to control the match.

"Yeah, I was playing very good, and especially I was serving good,'' said Radwanska, who will represent Poland in the Olympics. "Probably that was the key because I was holding my serve.''

Radwanska, who won 88 percent (23 of 26) of her first serves, reached the quarterfinals for the second straight week. She lost last week at Stanford to eventual runner-up CoCo Vandeweghe.