Cincinnati Open: Iga Swiatek tames Qinwen Zheng to wade into last-eight

Aryna Sabalenka, Coco Gauff, Jasmine Paolini and Karolina Muchova also moved into the quarters

Amidst a couple of upsets and retirements, Iga Swiatek eked out a win of her own to reach the quarter-finals of the Cincinnati Open on Thursday. The world no. 1 bounced back into her match against Qinwen Zheng after losing the opener.

In the end, after two hours and 10 minutes of play, the Pole won 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.Zheng struggled to put her first serves in across the match. In the first set, she put 29% of her first-serves in but managed to win 70% of her first-serve points.

Swiatek’s inability to win points off her second serve also aided Zheng in the set. The latter won 13 of 15 points on return on Swiatek’s second serve in the set. The Chinese player did lose her serve once in the set but converted three of six break points on Swiatek’s serve to gain the upper hand in the match.But the top seed changed the course of the match from the second set onwards.

She reined in her shot-making, won a better margin of points off both her first and second serves, especially in the decider. In the second set, the 22-year-old could win only 25% of her second-serve points but in the third set, she won 60%.

This, coupled with Zheng’s tactical woes, helped Swiatek cruise past her opponent with the loss of just two games in the last two sets.In the quarter-finals, Swiatek will take on 10th seed Marketa Vondrousova. The Czech posted a 7-5, 6-3 win over Sloane Stephens in their third-round meeting after 81 minutes.

Cincinnati Open: Seeds struggle, get ousted
Third seed Jessica Pegula and fourth seed Elena Rybakina had to exit the Ohian event in the third round.Marie Bouzkova shocked Pegula, last week’s winner in Canada, 6-4, 6-0 in an hour and 25 minutes in their round-of-16 meeting.

In the second set, Bouzkova converted three break points on Pegula’s serve and won 80% points on return on the American’s second serve.Rybakina, meanwhile, retired in her match against Jasmine Paolini. The Kazakh won the first set against the Italian 6-4 but stopped the match after being 5-2 down in the second set.Bouzkova will play fellow countrywoman Karolina Muchova.

Muchova upset Maria Sakkari 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. This was the second meeting between the two players after the French Open first round.Paolini will take on seventh seed Coco Gauff. The American got through Linda Noskova 6-4, 6-0 in 62 minutes in their third-round encounter.Lastly, Ons Jabeur and Aryna Sabalenka will play for a semi-final spot at the Cincinnati Open.

The fifth-seeded Tunisian led Donna Vekic 5-2 in the first set before the latter stopped the match. Meanwhile, world no. 2 Aryna Sabalenka won 6-3, 6-3 against 14th seed Daria Kasatkina.Photo Credit: Cincinnati Open

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