Ash Barty set up a mouth-watering Wimbledon semi-final against Angelique Kerber by scoring a crushing win over Ajla Tomljanovic on Centre Court.

In the first all-Australian quarter-final at a grand slam since 1980, when Evonne Goolagong beat Wendy Turnbull at Wimbledon, Barty inflicted a 6-1 6-3 demolition in an hour and six minutes.

She is favourite for this title, looking to join compatriots Goolagong and Margaret Court by landing the Venus Rosewater Dish, and delivered a demonstration of dazzling grass-court tennis as Tomljanovic suffered.

Ten years have passed since Barty won the girls' title at Wimbledon, and at senior level her best performance until this fortnight was a fourth-round run two years ago.

Now though, the world number one looks in great shape to take the title on her favourite surface, and add to her tour-leading three titles in 2021, having previously won the Yarra Valley Classic, followed by Miami and Stuttgart.

From 6-1 4-1, there was a slight dip from Barty that gave world number 75 Tomljanovic some hope, but that was soon crushed, the top seed regaining authority with her ground shots and scoring another break before serving out, finishing with an ace.

"It's exciting. She was always going to bring out the very best in me," Barty said. "This is a dream come true, genuinely it is. This is my dream and I'm extremely grateful I've got an opportunity to come out here and have fun and live out what I worked so hard to do. I'm enjoying every minute."

Barty is bidding to become just the fourth women in the Open Era to follow up a junior title by becoming the women's singles champion at Wimbledon, after Ann Jones, Martina Hingis and Amelie Mauresmo.

Facing 2018 Wimbledon champion Kerber on Thursday will be the toughest examination yet of Barty's credentials to achieve that rare double.

"It's the ultimate test. Angie's obviously had success here before and had the best fortnight here possible," Barty said in her on-court interview.

"I love that match-up, I love playing Angie. She's an incredible competitor and knows her way around this court. I hope I can play well and give myself a chance and play a good match."

Data Slam: 

Since 1968, the women's top seed at Wimbledon has gone on to be champion 24 times and runner-up on eight occasions. By reaching the final four, Barty has guaranteed she will stay at number one in the WTA rankings, whatever the result of the Kerber showdown.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Barty – 23/22
Tomljanovic – 5/20

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Barty – 5/4
Tomljanovic – 2/2

BREAK POINTS WON

Barty – 6/11
Tomljanovic – 2/4

The in-form Angelique Kerber excelled again at Wimbledon, defeating Karolina Muchova in straight sets to return to a major semi-final for the first time since her 2018 All England Club title.

Kerber is a three-time grand slam champion but had been badly out of sorts before returning to the grass courts this season.

First-round exits at both the Australian Open and the French Open were quickly forgotten as she claimed silverware on the WTA Tour for the first time in almost three years at the Bad Homburg Open, however.

And Kerber's latest victory in SW19 – 6-2 6-3 against Muchova in an hour and 15 minutes – extended her winning run to 10 matches, now within two of a second Wimbledon crown.

The German's experience had told as she outclassed Coco Gauff on Monday and she started in the same fashion, swiftly breaking to seize control of the opener.

Kerber was comfortable thereafter until a miscued volley teed up Muchova's first break-point opportunity. She recovered, though, a gorgeous dropshot securing a vital hold.

Muchova appeared to lose confidence at that point and the set was wrapped up as she was broken to love, her double fault followed by an effort that clipped the net and bounced wide.

Kerber's first setback followed early in the second – a backhand wide after saving the first of three break points – yet Muchova then again bowed to pressure, firing long as she attempted to accelerate a tense rally.

As the momentum swung back in Kerber's favour, she showed no signs of relenting, preying on another wild Muchova error as she outmanoeuvred the 24-year-old to create an open court and break once more.

Muchova fought to forge an opening as Kerber served for the match but could not capitalise and paid again for an aggressive approach, stepping forward and blazing wide to settle the result.

Data Slam: Kerber calm and in command

Kerber's early break piled the pressure on Muchova and her attempts to battle back only did more damage. The Czech attempted four approach shots – to Kerber's none – as she sought to go on the offensive, but all four missed the target.

Consider her only double fault in the entire match teed up set point in the opener and Muchova might wonder if this was just not her day.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Kerber – 15/21
Muchova – 9/27

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Kerber – 1/4
Muchova – 1/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Kerber – 4/6
Muchova – 1/8

Coco Gauff can contend at Wimbledon in the future even if she fell well short of besting Angelique Kerber, the former champion said.

Gauff, still just 17, has gone from strength to strength since her main-draw major debut at the All England Club in 2019.

But after reaching the quarter-finals at the French Open this year, she could not follow suit on the grass in London – bowing out in the fourth round, just as she did two years ago.

The serving woes that have dogged Gauff previously contributed heavily to her elimination.

The American teenager landed just 56 per cent of her 62 first serves in and won the point from only 20 of those 35 successful efforts (57 per cent).

Kerber – the 2018 champion – was far less erratic and capitalised on four of five break point opportunities, saving four of six going the other way.

"Coco is such a great, talented young player," Kerber said after a comfortable 6-4 6-4 triumph in an hour and 16 minutes on Centre Court.

"She's for sure a newcomer with such a great future in front of her, so I'm really sure that she will have a great career and for sure she will play here so many times again and maybe one time she will get the title.

"I like how she's playing, how she's professional, and I think she has a great future in front of her."

Kerber has struggled for consistent form since winning the third of her grand slam singles titles at Wimbledon three years ago, but she always enjoys playing on grass.

Victory at the Bad Homburg Open heading into this tournament was her first since celebrating at the All England Club.

It was Kerber's seventh WTA Tour final on grass, with only four players – Serena Williams (12) and Venus Williams (nine) involved in more since the turn of the century.

"I really enjoy my time here," Kerber added. "It's so great to play in front of you guys again – that gives me the energy to play my best tennis.

"I'm really looking forward to playing my next match because this is such a magic place for me and I will try to do my best."

The in-form German is the last remaining former champion in the women's tournament and plays Karolina Muchova next.

"I'm not looking too much ahead," Kerber said. "I just try to stay in the moment and enjoy every single moment here."

Angelique Kerber defeated Katerina Siniakova in straight sets on Saturday to win the inaugural Bad Homburg Open and end her three-year wait for a title.

The number four seed, whose last tournament triumph was at Wimbledon in 2018, prevailed 6-3 6-2 on home soil in a time of one hour and 25 minutes for her 13th career WTA singles crown. 

Kerber overcame Amanda Anisimova and top seed Petra Kvitova on Friday to reach her first final in two years but took time to get going against Siniakova, who won her only two career titles in 2017.

Siniakova broke Kerber's serve in the third game, only for the German to quickly respond by taking the next game as the pair continued to exchange blows.

World number 28 Kerber slowly found her rhythm and opened up a two-game lead at 5-3, but she had to save three break points before Siniakova fired into the net to concede the opening set.

The second set played out in a similar manner to begin with as Siniakova battled back after losing serve in the first game to level at 2-2 against her former world number one opponent.

But Kerber showed her quality by reeling off four games in a row and getting over the line with her third match point to add to her trophy collection.

The victory for the 33-year-old was her 75th on grass, which is the third most among active players behind Serena and Venus Williams.

Kerber is seeded 25th for Wimbledon and will face Nina Stojanovic in the first round next week.

"Everyone knows that I love to play on grass, I really feel well," she said in her on-court interview. 

"I had some great matches. The goal was to have some good matches to prepare for Wimbledon. Let's see and hope I can continue this next week."

Angelique Kerber won two games on Friday to progress to the final of the inaugural Bad Homburg Open, with unseeded Katerina Siniakova her opponent.

Kerber made home advantage count, following up a 2-6 6-3 6-3 quarter-final win over Amanda Anisimova – a match that was pushed back from Thursday when rain washed out play – with a triumph over top seed Petra Kvitova.

The former world number one came back from behind to win 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3) and take a spot in her first WTA singles final since 2019.

Kerber and Kvitova have now met 15 times, with the German winning on nine occasions.

She will go up against an unexpected finalist in the form of Siniakova, who defeated Sara Sorribes Tormo.

The Czech is the world number two in doubles, winning three grand slam titles in that format, and will be looking to replicate the feat of her regular partner Barbora Krejcikova, who triumphed at the French Open this year.

At the Viking International in Eastbourne, Jelena Ostapenko made light work of Elena Rybakina, while Anett Kontaveit made it into the final due to Camila Giorgi's retirement.

Latvian wildcard Ostapenko finished her 6-4 6-1 victory with zero double faults – the first time she has managed such a performance since winning in Luxembourg two years ago.

"I'm really happy with the way I played this week, and every match I played better and better," Ostapenko told a news conference after clinching a spot in her ninth career final.

"It's been a while [since making a] final, so I'm really happy to be in a final and looking forward to tomorrow's match."

The 2017 French Open champion will face Estonia's Kontaveit, who has won their previous two meetings and was 5-4 up in the opening set against Giorgi when her opponent retired hurt.

"It's actually nice to have a Baltic final, because [we're] not such big countries, but we still have good players," Ostapenko added.

"Anett, I know since juniors. We have been playing a lot, maybe not so many matches but we practice sometimes together, in juniors, and played even doubles. So I know her quite well."

Second seed Elina Svitolina crashed out of the Viking International in Eastbourne at the last-16 stage on Wednesday with a straight sets defeat to Elena Rybakina.

The world number five lost 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to 21st-ranked Rybakina, whose reward is a meeting with Coco Gauff's conqueror Anastasija Sevastova in the quarter-finals.

Third seed Bianca Andreescu of Canada also lost in straight sets, Anett Kontaveit of Estonia beating her 6-3 6-3.

And it was the same story for fourth seed Iga Swiatek, though she at least took a set as she was beaten by Daria Kasatkina.

It took an impressive rally from Russia's Kasatkina to bounce back from losing the first en route to a 4-6 6-0 6-1 success.

She will now face Jelena Ostapenko, who beat Ons Jabeur 5-7 6-4 6-3.

In fact, top seed Aryna Sabalenka was the only seed to avoid a surprise exit on Wednesday as she cruised through.

The Belarussian, ranked fourth in the world, beat Alison Riske 6-1 6-4 in just over an hour to set up a clash with Camila Giorgi.

Giorgi had earlier followed up a win over defending champion Karolina Pliskova in the last round by beating Shelby Rogers 6-3 4-6 6-2.

There was no such string of shocks at Wednesday's other WTA event, the Bad Homburg Open in Germany, though first and second seeds Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka needed three sets to progress.

Kvitova lost a second-set tie-break as she beat Ann Li 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 to reach the quarters, while Azarenka defeated Alize Cornet 6-4 3-6 7-6 (9-7).

Angelique Kerber, the fourth seed, progressed more smoothly, earning a comfortable 6-0 6-2 win over Russia's Anna Blinkova.

And Nadia Podoroska saw off the challenge of Patricia Maria Tig, winning 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 6-4.

Petra Kvitova came from a set down to beat Katarzyna Piter on her return from injury at the Bad Homburg Open, while no play was possible in Eastbourne on Monday due to rain.

Kvitova withdrew from the French Open after suffering a freak ankle injury during her post-match media duties at Roland Garros.

The two-time Wimbledon champion recovered to get her grass-court season under way in Germany and battled to a 4-6 6-1 6-4 over Polish outsider Piter.

A week before the third grand slam of the year gets started at the All England Club, top seed Kvitova trailed 2-0 in the final set as she struggled with her serve, but broke three times to book a second-round meeting with Ann Li.

Sloane Stephens withdrew ahead of her scheduled match with Laura Siegemund due to a foot injury. Riya Bhatia stepped in with Stephens absent, but Siegemund consigned her to a 2-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-1 defeat.

Angelique Kerber needed only 50 minutes to see the back of Ekaterina Yashina 6-1 6-1 on home soil, grasping all five break-point opportunities.

Kerber will do battle with Anna Blinkova in round two and Jessie Pegula's next assignment is an encounter with Katerina Siniakova following a 6-1 6-2 defeat of Amandine Hesse.

Blinkova beat Clara Tauson 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 6-2, while Sara Sorribes Tormo saw off Martina Trevisan 6-4 3-6 6-2

Miserable weather in Eastbourne prevented Karolina Pliskova, Madison Keys, Bianca Andreescu and Madison Keys from playing at the Viking International.

Jessica Pegula got the better of Karolina Pliskova once again as she knocked the fourth seed out of the bett1open on Thursday.

The American beat the former world number one 7-5 6-2 in Berlin, setting up a quarter-final clash with Victoria Azarenka.

It is the fourth time this season Pegula has defeated Pliskova.

Azarenka was also a straight-sets winner, overcoming Angelique Kerber in a battling 6-3 7-5 victory.

The two-time Australian Open champion was 4-1 down in the second set but roared back to prevail over Kerber for the 10th time in 11 matches.

Garbine Muguruza enjoyed a 6-4 6-3 victory over Elena Rybakina and will take on Alize Cornet next, while Ludmilla Samsonova downed Veronika Kudermetova by the same scoreline and will now face Madison Keys.

Garbine Muguruza, Victoria Azarenka and Angelique Kerber all sailed through at the bett1 Open on Tuesday as eighth seed Karolina Muchova crashed out in the first round.

The three former world number ones each made relatively light work of their opening clashes in Berlin, with Muguruza seeing off Sorana Cirstea 6-3 6-2.

Muguruza, the 2017 Wimbledon champion, expressed satisfaction with her performance on a return to the grass courts, with that part of the season wiped out in 2020 by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Very pleased," Muguruza said on court after going 24-8 on the season.

"You never know how it's going to go in the first match, especially on grass after two years, so I'm very excited to win in two sets against Sorana.

"We've played many times, and it's always difficult."

She will next face Elena Rybakina who, after beating Serena Williams en route to the French Open quarter-finals, came from a set down to see off Shelby Rogers.

Azarenka was a 6-4 7-6 (7-2) winner over Andrea Petkovic, and the two-time Australian Open champion will now face Kerber for a place in the last eight.

Kerber routed Misaki Doi 6-2 6-1 in a match that lasted only an hour but has lost nine of her previous 10 meetings with Azarenka.

The 2018 Wimbledon champion said: "I will try to play my game, and try to take another chance, and play as many matches as I can before I go to Wimbledon.

"It's another good match at a high level, and this is why I'm here. The draw is really strong, so it's good to have another good match."

Muchova, though, fell at the first hurdle. The Czech suffered an upset in the third round of the French Open at the hands of Sloane Stephens and lost in three sets in the German capital to Veronika Kudermetova after two hours and 27 minutes.

Elsewhere in the draw, there were wins for Petra Martic, Liudmila Samsonova and Jessica Pegula, whose opponent Hailey Baptiste retired in the first set.

Naomi Osaka fended off Patricia Maria Tig at the French Open on Sunday, but the world number two admits she has plenty of room for improvement on clay.

Osaka has been at the centre of attention in the build-up to the tournament, with the 23-year-old refusing to attend mandatory news conferences and suggesting they were not beneficial to her mental health.

The second seed stood by her decision following a straight-sets win over Romanian Tig and was subsequently handed a $15,000 fine and warned repeat offences could see her thrown out of the competition.

However, Osaka did speak in an on-court interview after her 6-4 7-6 (7-4) victory on Court Philippe-Chatrier– just her second win of the season on clay.

"I'd say it’s a work on progress," four-time grand slam winner Osaka said when asked about her clay-court game.

"Hopefully, the more I play the better it'll get. I'm really glad that I won, it's a very beautiful court. I've only played two matches here – one before the roof [was installed] and one right now. Hopefully I'll keep it going."

Next up for reigning US and Australian Open champion Osaka is Ana Bogdan, who defeated Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-1 6-3.

ANOTHER FRENCH OPEN DUCK FOR KERBER

While Osaka took a place in round two, former world number one Angelique Kerber had no such luck as she came unstuck in the first round at Roland Garros for a third year running.

Now ranked at 27th in the world by the WTA, Kerber lost 6-2 6-4 to qualifier Anhelina Kalinina.

The French Open title has so far eluded Kerber, who has won every other grand slam, and the 33-year-old German has not won a match in Paris since 2018, when she reached the quarter-finals, having also made the last eight in 2012.

Indeed, the 33-year-old's run to the quarters in 2018 was the only time in her last six appearances at Roland Garros that she has progressed beyond the first round.

"She started well and had nothing to lose, while it took me too long to get into the contest," Kerber said. "I will try to learn from the match now because I played good the last few weeks and I had good matches."

SABALENKA AND KVITOVA BATTLE THROUGH

Aryna Sabalenka was the other top seed in action on Sunday, though she was made to work for a 6-4 6-3 defeat of Ana Konjuh.

The third seed, who is in the hunt for a first grand slam title having already won the Madrid Open this month, made a sluggish start and two breaks of serve had her 4-2 down to world number 144 Konjuh.

But Sabalenka rallied herself and a streak of four straight games handed her the set, and a further three successive breaks to start the second put her in command.

Konjuh managed to save the first match point, only for the Croatian qualifier to hit the net as Sabalenka progressed at the second time of asking.

Petra Kvitova, the 11th seed, needed three sets to overcome Greet Minnen 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-5) 6-1, and had to save a match point in the process.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova was on the edge of a shock exit at 6-5 and a break down in the second set, but a backhand winner rescued her from the brink and forced another tie-break, which the Czech won before carrying the momentum into the decider.

"I would say that from my side it wasn't really good from the beginning," said Kvitova, a semi-finalist at Roland Garros last year.

"I was struggling, I was missing a lot, I was double-faulting a lot.

"I didn't really feel myself that well. I was pretty tight, it was really tough. I mean, I was fighting not only with her but with myself as well. I'm glad that in the end I beat myself as well and beat her, so that counts."

Kvitova will next face Elena Vesnina, who beat lucky loser Olga Govortsova 6-1 6-0 to seal a first singles win since she became a mother in 2018 and took a two-year break from tennis.

Jil Teichmann saved six match points in a stunning defeat of Elina Svitolina before Ash Barty breezed into the second round of the Madrid Open on Thursday.

Teichmann produced an astonishing fightback to beat fourth seed Svitolina 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-5) at the Caja Magica.

Unseeded Swiss Teichmann came from a set and a break down to claim the scalp of the world number five, who squandered a commanding 5-1 lead in the final set.

Svitolina saw six match points come and go in an incredible deciding set, opportunities she was left to rue when the 40-ranked Teichmann won a tie-break to end a contest that took two hours and 33 minutes to settle.

World number one Barty extended her winning run on clay to 12 matches with a 6-2 6-1 success over Shelby Rogers.

Barty claimed her third title of the year in Stuttgart last weekend and the Australian needed just an hour to send Rogers packing, losing just two points on her first serve and not facing a single break point.

French Open champion Iga Swiatek was also an emphatic winner, easing past another American in the form of Alison Riske 6-1 6-1.

Swiatek, making her debut in this tournament, has won 16 consecutive matches on clay after blowing Riske away.

Defending champion Kiki Bertens beat 15-year-old Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva 6-4 6-0, while Petra Kvitova progressed when opponent Marie Bouzkova retired due to hand injury after the Czech won the first set.

Garbine Muguruza was forced to withdraw ahead of her meeting with Sloane Stephens due to a leg injury. Belinda Bencic, Angelique Kerber and Johanna Konta were among the other winners in the Spanish capital.

The eight-time Olympic champion and 11-times world champion Usain Bolt is among nine elite athletes who have partnered with fitness company Peloton for its newly released Champions Collection.

Peloton Interactive, Inc. is an exercise equipment and media company that allows monthly subscribers to remotely participate in classes via streaming media.

Inside Hook reported on Wednesday that Peloton announced the Champions Collection for which it was partnering with the likes of Bolt, tennis star Angelique Kerber, surfer John John Florence, Allyson Felix and Andre De Grasse, Paralympic long jumper Scout Bassett, Olympic gymnasts Becky and Ellie Downie, and former world-record-holding swimmer Kathleen Baker.

According to the online publication, athletes will likely not become formal instructors but will probably have pages built out on the platform, where subscribers can follow along with their favourite workouts or playlists.

 

World number one Ash Barty moved through to the last 16 of the Miami Open, where Simona Halep's campaign came to a premature end.

Defending champion and top seed Barty was too good for Jelena Ostapenko in Saturday's showdown between the former French Open winners.

Two-time grand slam winner Victoria Azarenka also moved through to the fourth round of the WTA Premier tournament.

Halep, however, succumbed to a shoulder injury in Miami.

 

CLASH OF PAST AND PRESENT NUMBER ONES

Barty and former world number one Azarenka will go head-to-head for a place in the quarter-finals.

Australian star Barty accounted for Ostapenko 6-3 6-2 as she extended her winning streak at the Miami Open to eight matches.

Barty, who tallied nine winners to 14 unforced errors, rallied from 2-0 down in the second set by reeling off six successive games to advance.

"Today felt like I was a lot sharper and switched on and ready to go from the very first point," Barty said afterwards.

Three-time Miami champion Azarenka trumped Angelique Kerber 7-5 6-2 in the third round.

Azarenka – the 14th seed – fought back from a 4-1 deficit in the opening set to get the better of the three-time major winner.

"She's a very talented player. I always have been a huge fan of her game and the way she plays, the way she handles herself. She has a lot of variety," Azarenka said on facing Barty. "She has pretty much every single shot there is. [It's] going to be a great match."

 

INJURED HALEP PULLS OUT

Two-time grand slam champion Halep withdrew due to a shoulder injury as Anastasija Sevastova benefited from a walkover.

"I'm very sorry to I have to pull out of the singles and doubles at the Miami Open, but my injury doesn't let me play here as expected," said Halep.

"I'm sad that I can't continue, I wanted to come here to give my best and play many matches but unfortunately I can't. 

"Hopefully next year I will come back healthy and better."

Next up for Sevastova is wildcard Ana Konjuh, who stunned 15th seed and reigning French Open champion Iga Swiatek 6-4 2-6 6-2.

 

SVITOLINA AND SABALENKA ROLL ON

Ukrainian fifth seed Elina Svitolina booked her spot in the round of 16 after overcoming fellow seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 7-6 (7-1) 6-4.

Two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova stands in the way of a quarter-final berth – the ninth seed was too good for 17th seed Johanna Konta 6-1 6-2.

Seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka, meanwhile, prevailed 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 against Veronika Kudermetova.

Belinda Bencic – the 11th seed – was sent packing 4-6 6-4 6-4 by Marketa Vondrousova, who will take on Sabalenka.

Ash Barty completed a great escape to stay alive at the Miami Open, where Simona Halep also progressed.

Barty faced a match point but the defending champion and world number one dug deep to prevail in three sets against Kristina Kucova on Thursday.

Romanian third seed Halep also needed three sets at the WTA Premier tournament in Miami.

 

BARTY PRODUCES COMEBACK

In her first match outside of Australia in more than 12 months, Barty survived to top qualifier Kucova in Miami.

Barty trailed 5-2 in the third set, with Kucova earning a match point at 5-3 but the Australian star saved it and won the final five games of the match to secure a spot in the round of 32.

Winner of the 2019 French Open, Barty sent down an equal career-high 15 aces in two-and-a-half hours.

"Today was really hard work, and I enjoyed every single minute of it," Barty said on court post-game. "There’s nothing like coming through a test like that, and now I get another opportunity in a couple days' time to play another tough match and test myself again."

Next up for Barty is 2017 Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko, who outlasted Kirsten Flipkens 6-2 5-7 6-3.

 

HALEP REACHES MILESTONE

Halep brought up her 400th WTA main-draw triumph with a 3-6 6-4 6-0 victory over France's Caroline Garcia.

After dropping the opening set, Halep won 11 of the final 12 games to move through to the next round.

Halep won in one hour, 48 minutes, drastically improving on her first serve after the opening set while coming to grips with Garcia's kick serve.

"I needed time to get used to it and to get the rhythm," Halep said about Garcia's serve having improved her head-to-head record to 7-1, with Anastasija Sevastova awaiting in the last 32 after eliminating American sensation Coco Gauff.

Halep received attention on her shoulder early in the second. "I struggled with my serve," Halep said. "I struggled with my shoulder a little bit, so the attention was a little bit on the pain. [After that] I started to relax myself."

 

KERBER'S DOUBLE BAGEL

Three-time grand slam winner Angelique Kerber has been up and down in recently, but she flexed her muscles with a 6-0 6-0 humiliation of Renata Zarazua.

Aryna Sabalenka – the seventh seed – was another one to fend off match points before rallying 0-6 6-3 7-6 (11-9) past Bulgarian qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova in a gutsy.

Last year's French Open champion Iga Swiatek knocked off Barbora Krejcikova 6-4 6-2, while ninth seed and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova got past Aliza Cornet 6-0 6-4.

Fifth seed Elina Svitolina survived to beat Shelby Rogers 3-6 7-5 6-3 and two-time major winner Victoria Azarenka benefited from a walkover.

Garbine Muguruza made clear she is "fighting for trophies" on the WTA Tour after knocking out defending champion Aryna Sabalenka at the Qatar Open. 

Muguruza prevailed in a high-quality contest that required a third set to decide the outcome, the world number 16 and two-time grand slam champion eventually triumphing 6-2 6-7 (7-5) 6-3 after two hours, 18 minutes on court. 

Sabalenka had won their only previous meeting but the third seed saw her hopes of retaining the trophy dashed, not helped by only managing to convert four of the 13 break-point opportunities she created in the match. 

Muguruza – who matched 41 winners with the same number of unforced errors – finished in fine style, claiming the final four games in a row to set up a meeting with Maria Sakkari, who defeated Madison Keys in straight sets. 

"I'm very motivated to play top players," Muguruza said in her post-match press conference, according to the WTA Tour's website. "Like everybody, I worked hard. I'm fighting for trophies, to play well in big tournaments, in good tournaments. 

"Today I was facing a top player, and I knew I have to go out there with a big, fighting spirit, and be strong to be able to win against these tough opponents." 

While the 2020 winner is no longer involved, former champions Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova both made it beyond the second round with straight-sets wins in Wednesday's action. 

Azarenka, who claimed the title in 2012 and then returned to successfully retain it a year later, saw off qualifier Laura Siegemund 6-4 6-2. 

Kvitova, meanwhile, eased past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The fourth seed went all the way in 2018 and is now into the last eight this year – a 6-1 6-3 result paving the way for a clash with Anett Kontaveit.

Top seed Elina Svitolina is also through – and will face Azarenka next – after needing little over an hour to defeat Misaki Doi 6-1 6-2.

Karolina Pliskova, the second seed, found life far tougher against Ons Jabeur however, eventually coming out on top 6-4 4-6 7-5 in a thriller.

Meanwhile, at the Lyon Open, second seed Fiona Ferro progressed to the last eight on home soil after opponent Tereza Martincova was forced to retire when 4-1 down in the second set, having already lost the opener too.

Alize Cornet is another French favourite hoping to make home advantage tell in the tournament; the fifth seed rallied from a set down to beat compatriot Clara Burel 1-6 6-1 6-3. 

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