TENNIS: A year is a long time in tennis and Daria Gavrilova has reaped the rewards after steeling her focus in a tough third-round victory against No. 12 seed Timea Bacsinszky.
Twelve months after her meltdown against Carla Suarez Navarro on Rod Laver Arena, a more mature Gavrilova took to the court last night and was able to overcome a fightback from the No. 12 seed to move into the fourth round.
Gavrilova won the first set 6-3 but lost focus during the second set and eventually dropped it 5-7 to Bacsinszky.
She left the court at the conclusion of the set for a bathroom and outfit change and used the break to refocus and use the lessons she learnt from last year.
"I think I was losing my cool a little bit in the second set," Gavrilova said in her post-match press conference. "I told myself just try and be composed. Don't do what you did last year.
"I told myself to be really focused and play a tough point every point. I said, Okay, just give it all for the next 30 minutes, or however (long) it had to take."
Gavrilova also covered her head with a towel during the second set and read her match notes, a tactic Channel 7 commentator Rennae Stubbs said was vital to the No. 22 seed's ability to keep her cool on the court.
The Aussie was able to refocus and Stubbs was impressed by her demeanour in the third and deciding set.
"The body language from Gavrilova in this third set has been wonderful," Stubbs said.
"She lost her way early in the second set and she has really put her head down in this third set. It's been great to watch so far.
"It's important for Dash to just go away sometimes and recenter and refocus ... Just sort of reset.
"I spent a lot of time around Dash. She has these moments where she is just kind of mentally goes away."
Gavrilova was able to use her home crowd on Rod Laver Arena to her advantage in her 6-3 5-7 6-4 victory.
Australia Fed Cup captain Alicia Molik, who has worked closely with Gavrilova, said feeding off the momentum the crowd can provide is crucial to a player like 'Dasha'.
"Again, it's been really tough mentally in those difficult times where in the past she has let herself down," she told Channel 7.
"It's controlling emotion, but she is the type of player that needs to show her emotion to the crowd and on court.
"That's when it brings out the best in her. At times it brings out the worst. For Dasha it is really important she can find some middle ground."
Gavrilova will play No. 5 seed Karolina Pliskova in the fourth round on Monday.
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