Melbourne (AFP) - Resurgent former world number one Ana Ivanovic set up a fourth-round Australian Open clash with Serena Williams Friday after battling from a set down to crush local hope Samantha Stosur.
The glamorous Serb, who won the warm-up Auckland International, showed glimpses of her former best to beat the Australian 6-7 (8/10), 6-4, 6-2 and ruin Stosur's home Grand Slam.
The Australian has gained a reputation for choking under the pressure of playing in front of her home crowd, and she once again threw away a lead.
She has never gone beyond the fourth round at Melbourne Park in 12 attempts.
"It was a match of the highest quality. She is a very tough opponent and I just hung in there," said Ivanovic, who has never revisited the highs of 2008 when she won the French Open and made the Australian Open final.
"The conditions were hot and I am very happy and thrilled to get through. Winning in Auckland gave me a lot of confidence and I'm looking forward to the challenge of playing Serena."
Despite crashing out of a Grand Slam early once again, Stosur said she was taking positives from the match.
"You never like losing no matter what circumstances," she said.
"But if you're going to lose, for sure it's better when you don't feel like you beat yourself and you kind of did things that you know you shouldn't or whatever it is.
"So, yeah, disappointed, but I can still look back on that match and think that I played well and got beaten by a good player tonight."
Now working under a Serbian coach in Nemanja Kontic, 14th seed Ivanovic, in her 10th straight Australian Open appearance, proved too hot to handle for Stosur and said she was enjoying her tennis.
"It was very exciting match I think for everyone. It was such a high level of tennis from the first moment on. The crowd was really into it. I got into it, too, and I enjoyed it," she said.
The first six games went to serve as they traded shots from the baseline.
The match was finely poised until Stosur worked her way to a break point in the seventh, drawing Ivanovic to the net where she miscued a volley.
The Australian then held to love, with her booming 185 kilometre (115 miles) per hour serve proving a handful.
Stosur was starting to push the popular Ivanovic around the court, creating openings with the gutsy Serb forced to save a set point in the ninth before recovering to hold serve.
She saved another four sets points on Stosur's next serve then silenced the partisan crowd by breaking back to level the match at 5-5.
It went to a tiebreak and Ivanovic had a 6-3 lead but lost the next four points and eventually the set, after the players came back following a rain break when the roof was closed.
An Ivanovic forehand down the line gave her a break to take a 3-2 lead in the second and she held on to take the set and even up the match.
The Serb was on fire and she immediately broke Stosur again in the deciding set, holding off an assault from the Australian to break again and serve out for the win.