Chinese home player Zheng Saisai was defeated by Camila Giorgi of Italy 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-4, after a pains-taking battle in the second round of the WTA Shenzhen Open on Wednesday.
Zheng asked for a medical timeout during the decider when she led at 2-1, and was broken twice in the 5th and 7th games and fell behind 5-2 to her rival, who ranked 81st in the world, three places higher than Zheng.
Although the 22-year-old home favorite broke back in the 8th game and held her own to claw back to 5-4, the Italian eventually claimed the victory with a fantastic volley to book a spot in the last eight.
"She played really aggressively today, and played better and better with the match going on. But I think I have given out what I got in the winter training," said Zheng.
Giorgi is going to play another Chinese star Wang Qiang in the quarterfinals to be held on Thursday.
Earlier, world number 4 Simona Halep of Romania suffered a shock defeat to Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.
"I feel very happy that I won because it was a really tough match for me, but when I went to the court, I was feeling that I can win. So I just tried to show my best and I was leading for the first set. I am happy I won the match," said Siniakova, the youngest player in the tournament.
The deciding set became a tit-for-tat battle as both players broke each other during the first five games, and Siniakova took the upperhand for 4-2 by keeping her own for the first time in the 6th game. Then the second seed Halep also held her game for 4-3 and broke again for 4-all.
After both kept their games for 5-all, the 20-year-old Czech broke Halep again in the 11th game and took a commanding 6-5 lead. Although the Romanian survived the first match-point, the 52nd-ranked Siniakova converted her second chance and sealed the match in 124 minutes to set a meeting with Nina Stojanovic of Serbia in the last eight.
"I think she played really well. She is a strong player, I never played against her before. I think she has good shots, very powerful, so she deserves to win today, " Halep told the press briefing.
The other two quarterfinals will see a rematch of last year's final as top-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland is going to play Alison Riske of the United States, and Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic will challenge the third seed, Johanna Konta of Britain.