Caroline Wozniacki showed she is prepared to bunker down in the battle to stay world number one, clawing her way back from a double break in the deciding set to advance to the quarter-finals of the Sydney International.
In a tough day for the top seeds, the highest ranked of them all rattled off six consecutive games in draining conditions to down Dominika Cibulkova 7-5, 2-6, 6-4.
As would-be number one Petra Kvitova found things almost as tough in a 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 win over Alexandra Dulgheru and defending Sydney champion Li Na also endured a three-setter, Wozniacki showed she will not give up the post without a serious fight.
And while Kvitova is able to move to the top of women's tennis tree with a tournament win at Sydney Olympic Park, Wozniacki wanted to remind people where things currently stood.
When it was suggested whoever won in Sydney would "take" the number one ranking her response was pointed.
"Well, I have the number one ranking, so I can't take it," she said, the pair remaining on course for a title decider at Sydney Olympic Park.
The rankings wrangle was nearly left in the hands of Wimbledon champion Kvitova as the out-of-sorts Dane looked down for the count.
While the likes of Svetlana Kuznetsova pulled the pin on Tuesday citing "heat illness" - the third time the two-time grand slam champion has withdrawn while playing in a match at this tournament - the other top seeds were prepared to dig in.
She may not have won a grand slam but Wozniacki suggested she would not walk away from a match anytime soon.
"I hate losing," Wozniacki said.
"I think that's one of the biggest reasons (I kept fighting).
"I always do everything I can to win a game, and I want to stand in the end as the winner and have won the last point."
Kvitova also lifted after a second-set malaise, but the Czech knew she was in for a struggle from the get go.
"I lost against her in the US Open. It was a little bit in my head. I wanted to win today, of course," she said.
Kvitova will now take on Daniela Hantuchova, who comfortably accounted for Sam Stosur's conqueror Francesca Schiavone.
For Li, it was almost a case of feeling too relaxed.
"Beginning of the match I was thinking, wow, she can hit the ball so deep and every ball back to my court," said the world number five, who downed Chanelle Scheppers 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.
"I was like, 'What's going on? What should I do?'"
There was nothing much Australian Jelena Dokic could do, with eighth seed Marion Bartoli steamrolling her way to a 6-0, 6-3 win in their round of 16 match.
AAPTags: tennis, sport, sydney-2000, nsw, australia First posted January 10, 2012 13:19:58