A self-confessed foodie, Daria Gavrilova takes her choice of restaurant very seriously when she’s on the road.
So moments after conquering the heat and Timea Babos to reach the Connecticut Open quarter-finals on Tuesday, the affable Australian’s attention had already shifted off-court.
“I am a foodie, pretty obsessed about it,” she laughed. “I was already thinking where I was going to go for dinner straight after the match, that was probably my second thought.”
And in a city with as hefty a restaurant choice as New Haven’s, which eatery won out for her Tuesday night meal?
“I haven’t decided yet,” she grinned. “That’s a tough decision.”
Gavrilova’s 7-5, 7-6(6) victory over Babos on Tuesday stamped her ticket to a fourth quarter-final for the season where she will face a qualifier – either Kirsten Flipkens or Ana Bogdan.
More than two hours and 30 minutes in sweltering conditions, she sure wasn’t doing it the easy way.
From 2-5 down in the opening set, Gavrilova reeled off five games in a row to seal the set with an ace.
Then with the finish line in sight, thoughts of which restaurant to dine at afterwards may have filtered into her train of thought a little prematurely. Serving for the match at 5-4, Gavrilova was broken and when the Hungarian raced to a 6-2 lead in the tie-break it looked headed for a deciding set.
“Yeah I knew that I just had to dig in and stay tough, be present,” she said. “It was 6-3 [in the tie-break], then two serves so you kind of have the advantage and then I felt like I was on the side with the wind so that helped. I was trying to be positive.”
Those positive vibes did just the trick. The Aussie scrapped and the Hungarian’s errors began to flow once more as she tightened under pressure.
One final volley error from Babos made it six points in a row for Gavrilova to close out the result.
It was now dinner decision time. And while a restaurant was yet to be pinpointed for Tuesday night, there was a front-runner should indecisiveness take hold.
“I really enjoyed Miso, the Japanese place,” Gavrilova said. “There’s this, I think it’s called butterfly salmon, it’s so nice, with the miso sauce. Super tender.
“I could talk about food for hours.”
FORMER WORLD NO.6 POWERS THROUGH TO SECOND ROUND
Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro was cruising for her second win in as many meetings this year with Jana Cepelova on Tuesday when her passage into the second round was fast-tracked.
With former world No.6 Suarez Navarro leading 6-4, 4-0, the Slovak qualifier was forced to retire with an injured upper right thigh.
“Especially with the US Open next week you have to feel good,” Suarez Navarro said. “For me it’s not easy. It’s hot today and it’s my first match. She’d played three matches already from qualies.”
Suarez Navarro will face sixth-seeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a place in the quarter-finals.
Belgian qualifier Elise Mertens advanced to the last eight with her fifth straight win in New Haven.
The world No.46 saw off Russian Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 7-5 in a high-quality display to reach her fifth quarter-final of the season.
The last time Mertens reached the last eight as a qualifier in Hobart she went all the way to her first title in January.
"It was my first time on Stadium Court so I was really excited," Mertens said. "I played aggressive, she’s a great player and runs all over the court so I tried to take the ball as early as possible.
"I have to stay mentally strong, physically good and prepare myself for the next round."