Petra Martic notched a 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 win over Nadia Podoroska to give Croatia an unassailable 3-0 lead over Argentina at the United Cup on Sunday.
The winner of Group F will be decided over the next two days in the third and final tie, as Croatia return to take on France.
In Martic’s only previous encounter with Podoroska, she emerged a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 winner in the third round of Rome 2021. Once again, she was able to triumph in three sets, losing the tightest but running away with the other two.
ALSO READ| United Cup: Brazil Beat Norway; Czech Republic Sink Germany
This time, Podoroska roared out of the blocks. The former WTA No.36 dazzled in the opening three games, breaking Martic straight away with a perfect lob and coming up with crowd-pleasing volley and drop-shot winners.
But Martic responded with aggression of her own, and Podoroska proved unable to sustain her high level. The Croat reeled off seven straight games, breaking for 4-2 as Podoroska served consecutive double faults and sealing the set with an exquisitely weighted drop shot of her own.
Both players settled into a groove on serve in the second set: the first eight games saw just one breakpoint between them, quickly snuffed out by Podoroska with a service winner.
At 4-4, though, Martic blinked first. A dip in energy and execution saw her quickly lose the last two games of the set with a series of cheap errors, then go down a break at the start of the second set.
Encouraged by captain Iva Majoli and coach Michael Geserer, Martic gathered herself to reprise the arc of the first set. Having backed off her aggressive tactics, she upped the ante on serve and resumed her net-rushing approach in the decider, and was rewarded with another six-game streak to seal the victory.
Read all the Latest Sports News here(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)