Lucie Safarova missed out on a second WTA Tour semi-final spot on the trot, upset by battling American qualifier Jamie Hampton in three sets on Thursday.
The world #41 bounced back from losing the opening set, when she was slipping and sliding around the No.1 Court, but a gutsy display earned her a 3-6 7-6 6-4 success.
Initially the Czech ace’s thunderous forehand with formidable top spin was the real difference between the players, but once gutsy Hampton read her opponent’s tactics then the tide turned in an intriguing clash.
Hampton, who will move into the world’s top 30 next week courtesy of her incredible exploits at Eastbourne, made it back-to-back victories over Safarova after her impressive win at last month’s French Open.
Hungry Hampton had come through three qualifying matches and two main draw rounds with aplomb, having caused a sensation shock to dismiss top seed and world #4 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the 1st Round.
But the 23-year-old Hampton was initially troubled by the high bouncing shots from Safarova that resulted in a set of unforced errors and was staring at defeat going into the second set tiebreak.
Hampton confidently took the game to the Czech, storming to a 7-1 tiebreak success and maintained the momentum going into the final set.
Hampton said: “Last year’s Wimbledon was my first match on grass, and everyone told me that I would have a ton of fun on grass – it turns out everyone was right!”
Safarova arrived at Eastbourne in tip-top form, having carved her way to the Nurnberg semi-final but suffering a shock reversal to Romanian Simona Halep.
She had impressed on grass, following up her win over compatriot Klara Zakopalova to then upset Australian wildcard Sam Stosur, only to fail to fend off the challenge of Hampton in her fifth shot at an Eastbourne title.
Whether history will repeat itself at Devonshire Park with a qualifier being crowned the ladies champion for a second season on the trot remains a question that only Hampton can answer.