Friday's win was a long time coming for Petra Martic. The 28-year-old took out No. 2-seeded Karolina Pliskova, 6-3, 6-3 to reach the Roland Garros fourth round. It's her biggest career win in terms of ranking, but Martic has more on her mind.
"I mean, I have had a few, and for sure it was one of the bigger ones," she said. "But I have bigger goals than that, and I hope I can just continue this way."
Martic hasn't lost a set, or even more than three games in a set so far. Ranked No. 31, she's been on the verge of huge upsets and deep runs for years, making three prior fourth-round Slam appearances.
The Croatian has been through her fair share of struggles and heartbreaks. She missed 10 months from the middle of 2016 with a back injury, and her ranking dropped to the 600s.
Roland Garros 2017
In April 2017, she made her comeback on the ITF tour, and then stormed to the French Open fourth round as a qualifier. Up 5-2 against Elina Svitolina in the third set, Martic somehow lost.
She again made her way to the fourth round, but lost to Magdalena Rybarikova in three sets. Rybarikova would reach the semifinals that year.
Australian Open 2018
The next Slam she had a huge chance at was in Melbourne, but in the fourth round, she fell to an unseeded Elise Mertens. Mertens also went on to reach the semifinals.
The tide seems to be turning for Martic though. She kicked off the clay-court season with a semifinal showing in Charleston. Later that month she won Istanbul for her first WTA title. In Madrid, she ousted Garbine Muguruza on her way to the quarterfinals. She leads the tour for clay-court wins with 14.
???????????????????????????????????? #captionthis because I’ve got seriously no words and it’s still hard to believe.. so happy and grateful to be able to get my first WTA title in Istanbul ❤️ I’m moved by all the love from you guys that just keeps on coming, Thank You for all of it. This week has been pretty long and intense, but the outcome could not have been better and safe to say - it was well worth it. #TeamMartic #FirstBaby
Now Martic will face unseeded dark horse Kaia Kanepi for a spot in her first career Grand Slam quarterfinal. She's been there before, and this time, seems more than ready to take the next step.
"I don't know if Roland Garros has special relationship with me, but I have it with Roland Garros. I really love this tournament," Martic said. "I love this surface. I really feel great here, and I hope for the first time I'll be able to make the step further."