France's Billie Jean King Cup defence ended at the hands of the Russian Tennis Federation, who will meet the United States in the semi-finals after Wednesday's play in Prague. 

Clara Burel put France on course for the 3-0 victory they needed to advance from Group A with a three-set victory over Ekaterina Alexandrova, but Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova outlasted Alize Cornet in the second rubber to ensure a new champion will be crowned. 

Pavlyuchenkova saved six of 10 break points and racked up an impressive 34 winners en route to a crucial 5-7 6-4 6-2 success against Cornet. 

"I'm so, so happy and so proud of myself because I think it was an incredible match. It was very good tennis but more importantly I think it was an amazing fighting spirit from both of us," said Pavlyuchenkova. 

"We were like two tigers. Nobody wanted to give the other anything and I think that's what matters. That's the sport we're playing." 

Veronika Kudermetova and Liudmila Samsonova comfortably defeated Cornet and Burel in the doubles to consign the reigning champions to a 2-1 defeat. 

The RTF will go up against the USA in the first semi-final, with the Americans comfortably seeing off Spain in the singles rubbers. 

Sloane Stephens bested Nuria Parrizas-Diaz 6-4 6-4 before Danielle Collins swept Sara Sorribes Tormo aside 6-1 6-0 in under an hour. 

Collins won 83 per cent of points behind her first serve and forced Sorribes Tormo into 24 errors during a resounding victory. 

Spain avoided a 3-0 defeat, though, with Aliona Bolsova and Rebeka Masarova beating Caroline Dolehide and CoCo Vandeweghe 6-3 6-4 in the doubles rubber. 

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. 

Emma Raducanu came within one point of a sensational double bagel against Sara Sorribes Tormo and could face Ash Barty next at the US Open.

The 18-year-old Briton came through qualifying to make her Flushing Meadows bow this week.

And now Raducanu is remarkably into week two without dropping a set.

She saved her best performance yet for round three, winning 6-0 6-1 after passing up a match point on Sorribes Tormo's serve that would have sealed a flawless result.

Her place in the fourth round was a fine consolation for Raducanu, who reached the same stage at Wimbledon in July, then appearing in a grand slam main draw for the first time.

A match against Ajla Tomljanovic proved a step too far at the All England Club, but Raducanu may now get an opportunity to advance against another Australian.

If Barty beats Shelby Rogers later on Saturday, the world number one will face Raducanu next week – presumably far away from the Court 17 the teenager was consigned to on this occasion.

Given Sorribes Tormo beat Barty in straight sets in the first round of this year's Olympic Games, Raducanu should have nothing to fear.

"It's been two weeks in New York now," she told Prime Video. "And into the third week – I never thought I'd be here, but I'm just so, so excited."

Raducanu said of her latest triumph: "I was playing very well. I know Sara is an extremely tough opponent – she doesn't make a mistake, so you have to be on your game every single point.

"I had to work so hard, and there were some really, really long deuce games that could have gone either way, so I'm just really happy that I managed to maintain and stay on it and win in the end."

It was a far more comprehensive success than Raducanu was willing to admit, though, with the world number 150 having 11 break point opportunities to her opponent's zero.

Raducanu's blistering forehand averaged 92 miles per hour on serve, while she played 23 winners.

"Honestly, for this one, the plan was I had to hit through her, I had to hit the corners," she added. "If you trade against her, you're probably going to come out second best.

"I just took the game to her and hit more winners than errors today."

Naomi Osaka was never preordained to win gold at the Tokyo Olympics but it had felt that way until she ran into Marketa Vondrousova.

The surprising 6-1 6-4 loss that a lacklustre Osaka suffered on Tuesday could be explained away by the fact the 23-year-old had not played any competitive tennis since pulling out of the French Open at the end of May.

All the same, it was a major upset as world number 42 Vondrousova took out the highest remaining seed in the draw – the Japanese star who lit the Olympic cauldron on Friday.

Osaka's exit, after previous shock defeats for top seed Ash Barty and number three Aryna Sabalenka, has raised the prospect of a shock champion, just as occurred five years ago at the Rio Games when Monica Puig of Puerto Rico caused a sensation.

Now at the quarter-final stage, there is one former grand slam champion left in the field and two finalists at that level, but it really looks like anyone's title.


VONDROUSOVA SENSES AN OPPORTUNITY

It was remarkably straightforward for Vondrousova at Ariake Tennis Park, as she cruised through the opening set and soon reeled in Osaka's early break in the second.

Osaka saved two match points when serving to stay in the contest, but not a third, planting a backhand wide.

Considering Vondrousova reached the French Open final two years ago, in front of packed grandstands rather than the empty seats in Tokyo, it was no surprise she hesitated when asked whether this win over Osaka was the biggest of her career. It probably doesn't have that cachet, good a win though it was.

"Of course it's one of the biggest," Vondrousova said.

"Naomi is a great player, she has so many grand slams, so I knew it would be a tough match. But I'm just very happy with my play. I played amazingly in the first set, and then the second set was really tough. I'm just happy to be through.

"I think she was struggling a bit with my serving. Also, I use drop-shots very well. I'm just very happy with my game today."

She faces Spain Paula Badosa next and said: "It's very open now. I think every girl is playing really well. Now it's the quarter-final, so we'll see."


HAS SVITOLINA'S TIME ARRIVED?

A fixture in the top 10 over recent seasons, Svitolina has been unable to transfer her regular tour form onto the major stage on a consistent basis.

Maybe the Olympics will be a platform towards success on that stage, with Svitolina now the highest seed remaining in the draw, at number four. The Ukrainian is also on a high on the personal front, having married French tennis star Gael Monfils shortly before heading to Tokyo.

Two semi-finals, at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2019, have been her deepest runs in the majors, and this season has been one of diminishing returns, with a fourth-round run in Australia followed by a third-round Roland Garros exit and a round-two loss at Wimbledon.

Svitolina beat Maria Sakkari of Greece 5-7 6-3 6-4 on Tuesday, setting up a quarter-final against Italian Camila Giorgi who won 6-4 6-2 against Wimbledon runner-up Karolina Pliskova.

"I don't think I'm a favourite because there are lots of good players here and everyone is quite equal," Svitolina said.


A MUG SHOT?

Should Spain's Garbine Muguruza be considered the favourite from this point? With French Open and Wimbledon titles in her trophy room, Muguruza has shown she has what it takes to triumph on a big stage, and a clinical 6-4 6-1 win over Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck on Tuesday was just the job.

She goes on to face Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, who edged past Croatian Donna Vekic.

Belinda Bencic of Switzerland caused a surprise by ousting the in-form reigning French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, springing a 1-6 6-2 6-3 win that means there will be no repeat of the Roland Garros final in the quarter-finals.

That had been on the cards, but Bencic will be the player who takes on Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a place in the final four.

Pavlyuchenkova scored an impressive 6-1 6-3 victory over Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain, the player who knocked out Barty in round one.

Russian Olympic Committee's Pavyluchenkova is looking to harness the form that took her to a maiden slam final, describing her Paris run as "a great experience to have".

"But every week is a new week and this is a new event," said the 30-year-old. "The Olympic Games is a very special event. It's different. It's nothing like the others."

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.

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.

Seeds Petra Martic and Coco Gauff were victorious at the Emilia-Romagna Open on Wednesday, but injury cut short Sara Sorribes Tormo's run in the tournament.

Gauff recorded five breaks of serve as she overcame Italian Camila Giorgi in routine fashion, a 6-2 6-3 triumph securing the third seed a place in the quarter-finals.

The American did have a few issues on her own serve, leading to seven double faults, but ended up winning in one hour and 11 minutes.

Martic, the second seed at the event, was made to work in the first set of her match against Ludmilla Samsonova, both players saving a break point on serve as it went the distance.

There was little to split the pair in the tie-breaker too, Martic edging it 7-5 as she capitalised on her first opportunity to take the set.

The second was more straightforward for the Croatian, an early beak of serve putting her in front before she repeated the trick to wrap up victory in the ninth game.

There were wins in straight sets for fellow seeds Caroline Garcia and Wang Qiang too, as they defeated Anna-Lena Friedsam and Martina Di Giuseppe respectively.

For Garcia, the triumph means a first quarter-final appearance in the 2021 season.

Sorribes Tormo was the only seeded player to exit in the day’s action, the Spaniard forced to retire at 2-2 in the deciding set against Sara Errani due to a problem with her left thigh.

"I'm very sorry for Sara. It was a battle, I know every time we play together it is like this. I was mentally ready to fight, to suffer," Errani said in her on-court interview.

Top seed Serena Williams is already out, beaten in straight sets by Katerina Siniakova to deal the 23-time grand slam champion a further blow ahead of this year's French Open.

Serena Williams had no problems in her opening match at the Emilia-Romagna Open, but sister Venus was unable to join her in the last 16.

Top seed Serena eased to a 6-3 6-2 triumph over teenage qualifier Lisa Pigato in the highlight of Monday's action in the clay-court tournament, wrapping up the result in 68 minutes.

Pigato, 17, was making her debut in the main draw of a professional event having come through qualifying in Parma.

She enjoyed early success against the legendary Williams, too, claiming a break of serve in the opening game, but the 23-time grand slam champion soon got to grips with the task at hand.

"The first game, she played really good and I needed to adjust to get back," Serena said afterwards. "It was a bit of both, figuring out her game as well."

Next up for the American, who accepted a wildcard into the event after an early exit at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome last week, will be Katerina Siniakova, a 6-1 6-3 winner over Clara Tauson.

Venus, however, failed to make it beyond her opening outing, losing out to Anna Karolina Schmiedlova despite taking the opening set.

The Slovakian made it four wins in five meetings against the seven-time major champion, eventually prevailing 5-7 6-2 6-2 after two hours and 39 minutes on court.

Elsewhere, Sloane Stephens defeated fellow American Caty McNally in two sets, while seventh seed Sara Sorribes Tormo overcame Bernarda Pera 6-4 6-2.

There was also a win in straight sets for eighth seed Caroline Garcia, who got the better of Paula Ormaechea in a contest that saw both players serve impressively.

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