By Rodolfo Dacleson II

PHOTO: Tennis Forum

MELBOURNE, Australia — Danka Kovinic never broke past the second round of the 17 grand slam singles and doubles events she went through before. 

But now, the wait is finally over, and it arrived more dramatically than expected. 

Montenegro's Kovinic will go deeper in the Australian Open after carving an impressive 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 upset over world no. 17 Emma Raducanu of the United Kingdom (UK) on Thursday, here at the Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne Park.

The 27-year-old Montenegrin survived the current US Open Champion's gallant stand to set a date versus another highly-ranked tennis superstar in Romania's Simona Halep, ranked 15, on Saturday. 

This major success paved the way for Kovinic in becoming the first tennis player from Montenegro to reach the said juncture of the tournament. 

“I really enjoyed it out there. It was a nice experience to play Emma and make it to the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time,” the unseeded Kovinic said. “Emma is such a talent and just glad I showed I can play at her level.”

The tiebreaking set proved to be too much for the resilient 5-foot-7 Toronto-born rising star, who was seen grinning in the entire match as blisters affected her right serving hand. Kovinic stormed Raducanu with effective lobs and held herself against the teen's determination. 

In the second set, a rejuvenated Raducanu showed her real form and went to establish an early 2-0 lead amid the agonizing pain en route to forcing the match into a decider. 

Kovinic started flat after trailing by 3-0 in the opening set, then came waxing hot in the next five games to turn the tides in favor of her, 5-3, as Raducanu began feeling the effects of the blisters. 

The Briton had to call for a medical timeout during the 3-2 juncture and all-game long. 

Raducanu stopped the bleeding in the ninth game but it was too late to halt Kovinic's onslaught.