Tsvetana Pironkova continued her impressive grass court career by defeating Dominika Cilbulkova 6-7(4) 6-4 6-1 to seal a quarter-final berth.
The Bulgarian, languishing outside the world’s top 20, registered her 15 victory of the year over resurgent Culbulova but not without a battle that lasted over two hours.
Culbukova, having not dropped a set in their previous three meetings, started as the favourite and the pair had never met on Pironkova’s favourite surface of grass.
Four dropped services game a-piece in a bitty opening set forced a tie-breaker, and Pironkova’s frustration at fluffing a set point at 6-5 40-30 increased when she lost the set in 67 minutes.
Ever the battler, the world #44, dropped her serve to trail 2-0 but after breaking back found her groove at 3-3 and two broke her opponent including snapping up the third set point to level matters.
Their respective power games cancelled each other out, similar strokes exchanged to leave the No.1 Court crowd rivetted to their seats.
But the decisive set was always going in favour of Pironkova as Cibulkova ran out of energy, twice losing her serve to be ousted from the tournament.
Pironkova added Cibulkova to the winning list in Eastbourne to join New Zealand’s Qualifier Marina Erakovic and veteran Aussie Sam Stosur on the sidelines.
The Bulgarian will be aiming to add the in-form Agnieszka Radwanska to that list after their quarter-final clash on Thursday.