Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic eased to a straight-sets win over Sara Sorribes Tormo to maintain her good form and book a place in the Ostrava Open quarter-finals.

Third seed Bencic needed just 88 minutes to see off her 36th-ranked opponent as she made it 15 victories from her past 18 matches.

Czech wildcard Tereza Martincova is also through to the last eight on home soil after battling past French Open finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (8-6).

Martincova is into her fifth quarter-final of the season and will take on number four seed Maria Sakkari, who saw off Jelena Ostapenko 6-4 6-2 earlier on Thursday.

Also through to round three is Elena Rybakina following a hard-fought 6-3 2-6 6-1 win over qualifier Magda Linette, while Jil Teichmann – who shocked former world number one Angelique Kerber in the previous round – advanced in three sets against Alison Riske.

She will face Petra Kvitova for a place in the semi-finals. 

Top-seeded Elise Mertens rolled into the semi-finals at the Silicon Valley Classic with a 6-3 7-6 (10-8) win over Yulia Putintseva on Friday. 

The Belgian already has collected a pair of grand slam doubles titles this year at the Australian Open and Wimbledon and is seeking her seventh career singles crown. 

She will need to get past fourth seed Daria Kasatkina to have a chance. 

The Russian outlasted Magda Linette 6-4 3-6 6-4 in her quarter-final and is seeking her third title of 2021 after a three-year drought between wins. 

The other semi-final will match seventh seed Danielle Collins against qualifier Ana Konjuh.

Collins pulled out a tight 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-4) upset of second seed Elena Rybakina to reach the semis in San Jose for the second time. 

The American won her eighth consecutive match after taking the title at Palermo two weeks ago. 

She will meet the only unseeded player remaining, Konjuh, who won the final 10 games of the match to close out Zhang Shuai 3-6 6-2 6-0. 

Top-seeded Elise Mertens pulled out a three-set win to reach the quarter-finals at the Silicon Valley Classic as all four matches went the distance on Thursday.

The Belgian, ranked 17th in the world, prevailed 6-2 4-6 6-4 over Kristina Mladenovic of France in two hours and 40 minutes to advance in San Jose.

She moves on to face the eighth seed, Yulia Putintseva, who rallied past Ajla Tomljanovic 3-6 7-5 6-3 as the Australian blew numerous chances to pull ahead by converting only two of 16 break-point opportunities.

In the bottom half of the draw, second seed Elena Rybakina remained on track with a 2-6 6-0 6-2 victory over American Claire Liu in a rematch of a second-round meeting at Wimbledon.

Rybakina next meets seventh seed Danielle Collins, a 3-6 6-4 6-3 winner over US countrywoman Sloane Stephens.

Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion, has slipped to number 67 in the world and was playing in her first tournament since Wimbledon as she prepares for a return to Flushing Meadows.

Camila Giorgi extended her strong run at the Viking International in Eastbourne as she dumped out top seed Aryna Sabalenka on Thursday.

The Italian had already beaten defending champion Karolina Pliskova en route to the last eight and pulled off another upset as she claimed a 7-6 (7-5) 0-6 6-4 win over Sabalenka.

Giorgi's bid for the third WTA Tour title of her career will now continue with a semi-final against Anett Kontaveit on Friday.

The Estonian also needed three sets to book her place, bouncing back from losing the opener to beat Viktorija Golubic 2-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-5.

Daria Kasatkina was unable to build on her win over fourth seed Iga Swiatek in the last round as she missed out on a spot in the semi-finals.

The Russian took the first set against Jelena Ostapenko but failed to build on that success as the Latvian ran out a 1-6 7-5 6-2 winner.

In the final match of the day, Anastasija Sevastova was beaten by Elena Rybakina, who had earned her place in the quarters by beating second seed Elina Svitolina the day before.

World number 61 Sevastova, who eliminated Coco Gauff, won the first set 6-2, but Rybakina fought back to claim the next two 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-5).

Rainy conditions ensured there was no play at this week's other WTA event held in Bad Homburg, Germany, though one player was able to secure passage to the semi-finals.

Sara Sorribes Tormo claimed her place in the next round after Victoria Azarenka, her scheduled opponent, pulled out due to injury.

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.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova fought back to win a pulsating French Open battle with her doubles partner Elena Rybakina and reach an elusive first grand slam semi-final.

A decade after playing in the last eight of a major for the first time at Roland Garros, Pavlyuchenkova finally broke new ground with a hard-fought 6-7 (2-7) 6-2 9-7 victory on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old had lost six grand slam singles quarter-finals but the 31st seed will do battle with surprise package Tamara Zidansek for a place in the championship match in Paris.

Rybakina beat the great Serena Williams to reach the last eight and gave another demonstration of her huge promise, but made 43 unforced errors in an entertaining contest that took two hours and 33 minutes to settle on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

After Kazakh Rybakina claimed the first break for a 3-1 first-set lead with clean striking off both wings, Pavlyuchenkova took a more aggressive approach and that paid off when she got back on serve at 4-3.

Rybakina, the 21st seed, took that setback in her stride, storming into a 5-0 lead after a tactical first-set battle was taken to a tie-break, which ended with Pavlyuchenkova putting a backhand into the net.

Pavlyuchenkova appeared to have missed out on a fourth chance to break in a long sixth game of the second set when she slipped, but looked up while she was sitting on the clay to discover Rybakina had made a mess of a simple smash.

The 29-year-old broke again to wrap up the set and maintained her momentum in the decider, charging into a 2-0 lead - with her backhand firing.

They were back on serve at 4-4 with the nerves jangling following four breaks in five games, both players looking understandably tense but still producing some high-quality tennis.

It was Pavlyuchenkova who claimed the decisive fifth break of a long final set to advance, earning a match point with a rasping forehand winner before her young opponent double-faulted.

 

Data Slam: A half-century to remember for Pavlyuchenkova

Pavlyuchenkova is making her 50th grand slam main draw appearance and she has marked it with her best run. More proof that persistence pays off.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Pavlyuchenkova – 44/28
Rybakina – 46/43

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Pavlyuchenkova – 5/2
Rybakina – 5/6

BREAK POINTS WON

Pavlyuchenkova– 6/17
Rybakina – 3/7

Serena Williams said she would head to London "pretty soon" to start preparation for Wimbledon after being dumped out of the French Open by Elena Rybakina.

Rybakina, who represents Kazakhstan, had not previously been past the second round at Roland Garros but she was in superb form against 23-time grand slam winner Williams, storming to a 6-3 7-5 win in one hour and 19 minutes to reach the quarter-finals.

Russian-born Rybakina was excellent value for her stunning win on Sunday, converting five of her seven break points and winning almost 60 per cent of points returning Williams' second serve.

Far from being disappointed at her early exit, Williams said she was just pleased to have put together a run of three consecutive wins on clay before Sunday's defeat.

"I got some good matches in here," Williams told a media conference. "I did not have the best clay-court season, but it was good to finally get some wins on clay. I'm in a much better place than when I got here.

"It was definitely close. There is literally a point here, a point there, that could change the whole course of the match. I'm not winning those points. That literally could just change everything."

Asked if it might be her final French Open match, the 39-year-old American said: "I'm definitely not thinking about it at all. I'm definitely thinking just about other things but not about that."

One of those "other things" will be Wimbledon, where she has been a singles champion seven times. Asked when she would travel to London for the tournament that begins on June 28, Williams said: "[I will] possibly go home and regroup and then get ready for London. But I don't know. I have to get there early for quarantine, so, yeah, it has to be pretty soon."

Rybakina, who will face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the quarter-finals, had never faced Williams before.

She said: "When I was small, of course I was watching her matches on TV. It's difficult to expect anything because you watch on TV and it's completely different when you come on court and you feel the power and everything. I knew that the serve was going to be difficult for me to return. She's powerful, but I was ready."

PAVLYUCHENKOVA ENDS LONG WAIT FOR LAST-EIGHT SPOT

Pavlyuchenkova reached the quarter-finals of the French Open for the first time in 10 years with a 5-7 6-3 6-2 victory over 15th seed Victoria Azarenka.

It is the seventh grand slam quarter-final for Pavlyuchenkova, who is seeded 31st at Roland Garros, and her first outside Australia in five years.

The Russian had lost to Azarenka in five of their last six matches and looked set for more disappointment when the Belarusian powered back from 3-1 down to take the first set.

However, Pavlyuchenkova fought back in style, hitting 24 winners and making just 11 unforced errors over the next two sets to book her last-eight spot in two hours and nine minutes.

"It's tough to remember what I felt like 10 years ago," she said. "I'd say completely different. I'm very happy also now. I think I feel a little different. I feel more mature. It's a good moment, I'm enjoying it, but I've got work to do.

"I hope I show more maturity as well, smarter tennis, more consistent. I feel quite fit as well, considering the fact that I'm not the youngest on tour now.

"I know what I have to do and I know what I want to do; I'm trying to work for that."

Reflecting on her defeat, Azarenka said: "There's always some positives. The most positive thing I will say from this week, not the whole season, is that I've been able to play pain free. That was my goal here. Everything else is something that can be analysed later."

BADOSA AND ZIDANESK REACH QUARTER-FINALS FOR FIRST TIME

Paula Badosa will compete in her first grand slam quarter-final after overcoming 20th seed Marketa Vondrousova 6-4 3-6 6-2.

Badosa, who reached the semi-finals in Charleston and Madrid before picking up her maiden title in Belgrade a fortnight ago, saved six of the nine break points she faced and converted five of the 10 she forced on her opponent's serve.

"I always thought that tennis is 80 per cent mental," the Spanish 33rd seed said. "I think when you're in these rounds, of course the racket is important, how you play, it's very important.

"I think it's a little bit more important how you manage all the nerves in the important moments. I think when you're here, the mental thing, it's a little bit the key."

She will face world number 85 Tamara Zidanesk, who became the first player representing Slovenia to reach the last eight of a grand slam thanks to a 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 win over Sorana Cirstea.

The best previous major performance by a player representing Slovenia had been the three fourth-round runs by Katarina Srebotnik at Roland Garros in 2002 and 2008, and the US Open in 2008.

"I'm getting a lot of messages that everyone is watching," Zidansek said. "It means a lot to me that I'm able to get across to the message to young people and everyone in Slovenia that we can do it.

"We're a small country; we don't have that many players, but we have good players."

Serena Williams crashed out of the French Open in the fourth round as 21st seed Elena Rybakina sealed a stunning 6-3 7-5 victory on Sunday.

Rybakina, representing Kazakhstan, had not previously been past the second round at Roland Garros but she is enjoying a strong run this fortnight and showed no nerves against her illustrious opponent, hitting a series of impressive winners that the 39-year-old Williams could not match.

After breaking back and then moving 5-4 ahead in the second set, it seemed 23-time grand slam champion Williams might take the match to a decider, but Rybakina reeled off the next three games to seal the biggest win of her career and set up a quarter-final clash against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. 

Rybakina started in a confident mood, winning her first two service games without dropping a point.

Williams came under intense pressure on her second service game, with Rybakina breaking and opening up a 3-1 lead when the American sent a backhand long.

Williams broke back in the seventh game of the match, but she squandered the opportunity to pull level when Rybakina broke again in the next game.

A nervy Rybakina needed four set points to win the opener 6-3, sealing it in 36 minutes when Williams flashed a cross-court backhand long.

Williams found herself in more trouble at the start of the second set, Rybakina comfortably breaking to move 1-0 up, but the three-time Roland Garros champion restored parity in the next game with four consecutive winners.

Rybakina missed a golden opportunity to set up a break point in the fifth match of the second set, sending a backhand long with Williams out of position, the American surviving to serve out the game and move 3-2 up.

The 21-year-old won the next game with an ace, setting the stage for her to break Williams and move 4-3 ahead.

Williams roared back, though, winning the next two games to leave Rybakina serving to stay in the set.

Not only did she do that, but she won the next two games as well to put the seal on a memorable victory that took one hour and 19 minutes.

 

DATA SLAM: RYBAKINA PUNISHES SLOPPY WILLIAMS

Williams looked well off the pace against an opponent who certainly made the most of her first appearance in the fourth round of a grand slam tournament. Williams won just 59 per cent of the points from her first serve, compared to Rybakina's 69 per cent, while the Russian-born player won 86 per cent of points at the net compared to Williams' 50 per cent.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Williams – 15/19
Rybakina – 21/13

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Williams – 2/1
Rybakina – 4/4

BREAK POINTS WON

Williams – 3/5
Rybakina – 5/7

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.