ABU DHABI: Russian qualifier Anastasia Gasanova, who made her maiden WTA main draw appearance this week, could barely believe what she achieved on Saturday after breezing past former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova (pix) in the second round in Abu Dhabi.
The 21-year-old qualifier, ranked 292nd, had won her first-ever tour-level match in the opening round of the WTA 500 event to set up the clash with Czech Pliskova in her first meeting with a top 100 player.
But Gasanova, whose goal is to break into the top 200 this year, took just 72 minutes to secure a 6-2 6-4 victory against world No. 6 Pliskova.
“It was not me on the court,” Gasanova told reporters amid continuous giggles. “I was so sure of myself. I’m really happy right now.
“I’m really surprised, but when I woke up today, I thought, ‘Why not? Why can’t I win this match?’. Actually, I thought I would lose in qualifiers or something like that, but I just kept pushing myself, like, I need to win and I want to win.”
Gasanova will next play Spain’s 66th ranked Sara Sorribes Tormo in the last 16. – Reuters