Daria Gavrilova channelled the fighting spirit of Lleyton Hewitt to win a second-round Australian Open berth against sixth seed Petra Kvitova.
The Australian No.2 used the Hewitt war-cry of `C’mon’ throughout her 7-6 (6-3) 6-4 win over Czech veteran Lucie Hradecka.
She also showed his trademark perseverance to save all 10 break points that big-serving Hradecka held against her, scrambling to every ball.
Gavrilova, 21, said she had often been compared to compatriot Hewitt, who is playing in his 20th and final Australian Open.
“I actually was told I was a female Lleyton Hewitt by one of my friends,” Gavrilova said.
“I love watching him so he’s not bad to be compared to.”
Gavrilova, who soared up the rankings since her first-round exit at Melbourne Park last year from 187 to 39, broke 30-year-old Hradecka at 3-3 in the second set and then went on to serve out the match.
The Russian-born player, who received her Australian passport in November, has shown promising form this summer, earlier joining with Nick Kyrgios to win the Hopman Cup.
She relished playing in front of a big home crowd on Margaret Court Arena, although said nerves almost got the better of her.
“I was as nervous as I was at Hopman Cup as all these matches mean a lot to me,” Gavrilova said.
“It was hard serving it out in the end and I got a bit nervous and had all these thoughts coming in my head but then I told myself to stop thinking and in the end I did it pretty well.”
Gavrilova said she couldn’t recall having a match when she was able to claw her way back from every disadvantage to hold her serve.
“I thought I may as well start the game from 0-30 or 15-40 because I played better then,” she laughed.
Kvitova showed her class to steamroll Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum 6-3 6-1 but Gavrilova felt she was ready after almost rolling the world No.7 in a tournament in China last year.
She led 5-3 in the third set only for Kvitova to romp home 7-5.
“I got pretty close and was serving for it but then I lost the next four games in like two minutes,” Gavrilova said.
“She hits the ball pretty hard and has a good serve so I will have to work very hard and run a lot to survive all those big shots.”