Petkovic climbs up from Down Under at Family Circle Cup; Jankovic withdraws

Andrea Petkovic defeated Madison Brengle, 6-4, 6-4, on Thursday during the Family Circle Cup on Daniel Island.

Andrea Petkovic was too worn out to focus on revenge, but a Family Circle Cup victory over Australian Open tormentor Madison Brengle made for an uplifting end to a taxing singles match. Petkovic, the defending champion, moved on to Friday’s quarterfinals against Danka Kovinic with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Brengle on Thursday.

Brengle, a 25-year-old Dover, Del., native stunned Petkovic in the first round at Melbourne (5-7, 7-6, 6-3) in January. She has some of the strongest backhand strokes on the WTA Tour, and a sound counter-punching approach that confounded Petkovic.

“After that I really sat down with my coaches and I worked on the spin on my forehand and on the slice and just trying to change the rhythm, open up the courts, make them run more,” said Petkovic the highest seed remaining at No. 3. “And I think even though I didn’t play well (Thursday), I played well strategically and I think that paid off in the end.”

Fatigue nearly got the best of Petkovic, who improved to 10-1 at Daniel Island, a few hours after fellow German Mona Barthel retired with dizziness while trailing American Lauren Davis 6-3, 3-0.

The Davis victory sets up an All-American quarterfinal against friend Madison Keys, a 6-2, 6-0 winner over Andreea Mitu.

Kovinic advanced when No. 6 seed Jelena Jankovic withdrew with a right foot injury.

In other quarterfinal matches, No. 5 seed Angelique Kerber will face Irina-Camelia Begu, No. 4 seed Sara Errani will play Lucie Hradecka. Kerber had little trouble in a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Lara Arruabarrena. Hradecka defeated No. 8 seed Caroline Garcia, 5-7, 7-5, 6-4.

Begu advanced Wednesday when No. 2 seed Ekaterina Makarova withdrew from the tournament with an intestinal illness.

With so many casualties, maybe the biggest upset is that Petkovic, 27, says she will be fine with a little rest and proper care.

“I have these days where sort of all the tiredness accumulates in my body,” she said, “and then once I surpass this day, I feel like the next days are better. … I have all my recovery things and drinks and stretching, massage, and it will be fine tomorrow, I’m sure.”

On the other side of the draw, Davis, a 21-year-old native Ohioan who lives in Boca Raton, Fla., is having one of the best weeks of her career. On Wednesday, she was dominant in a 6-3, 6-1 upset of top seed Eugenie Bouchard.

“I love the tournament,” Davis said. “It’s an amazing tournament. I love the support. I feel really comfortable on the clay. I feel like I’m sliding well and that my game really suits it well, so yeah, I’m just really enjoying myself.”

Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff