Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki won for the second straight day in the Family Circle Cup, but Thursday's 6-2, 7-5 victory over No. 16-seeded Patty Schnyder was markedly more difficult than her preceding win.
The 19-year-old took the first set in handy fashion, winning the first four games. But Schnyder, 31, bore down and extended the No. 2-ranked player in the world before finally succumbing.
Wozniacki advanced to the quarterfinals and will play No. 6-seeded Nadia Petrova, who beat Aleksandra Wozniak, 6-2, 6-4.
"I'm sure the crowd helped (Schnyder) today. She got really pumped up and she was really believing in herself," Wozniacki said of Schynder, who was making her 14th appearance in the Family Circle Cup.
Schnyder has lost in the final twice, in 2002 to Iva Majoli and in 2006 to Nadia Petrova.
Although Schnyder may be a crowd favorite here, so is Wozniacki, who lost to Sabine Lisicki in last year's final, 6-2, 6-4.
"It's just important to keep focused on your own game and not think too much about the crowd, because a lot of people are cheering for
me as well," Wozniacki said. "But she's been playing here for so many years, so people know her. It's like her home tournament. I just try to focus on myself and the things I had to do."
Wozniacki said Schnyder, a left-hander, was a difficult opponent, one who keeps the ball in play.
"We were both returning (serves) well," she said. "It was not easy, but I'm so happy that I pulled through in two sets.
"She's playing very smart; she's playing really effective. It's different than most of the other players on Tour. You just need to stick in there ... the ball can go over 15, 20 times. It doesn't matter. You still fight, and in the end you need to take advantage of the short balls."
Wozniacki said she felt she played aggressively, especially in the beginning.
"The second set, I let her dictate a little bit more," Wozniacki said. "I still think we were playing really good rallies from the baseline. I think maybe my serve could have been better today, especially in the second set. But I felt pretty good out there."
Schnyder said her start really wasn't that bad. She said Wozniacki's strength is getting so many balls back and moving her opponent around.
"But she just kept hitting winners and didn't miss a ball until really late in that first set," Schnyder said. "I knew that somehow I'm going to dominate more points and eventually I'm going to win more games and that's how it worked out. I really made her run. I was on top of so many points. I was really dominating from the backhand."
Earlier this week, Schnyder hinted that this may be her last appearance in Charleston. She said she likes the tournament and the level of competition. But she added that she isn't able to sustain the intensity she needs for long periods of time and that's "a bit sad."
If this was her swan song, she went out playing like she always has, a real fighter.