Adelaide | Jabeur opens with a win as Begu fells Ostapenko

The two top seeds, Ons Jabeur and Aryna Sabalenka, remain on track at the Adelaide International 1, reaching the quarter-finals and, following Jelena Ostapenko’s dismissal at the hands of Irina-Camelia Begu, are 2 of only 3 seeds left standing in the women’s main draw.

Happy that I stayed calm, not angry that I missed the two breaks that I was up with, and keeping my calm to play my game. That tiebreak helped me play a better second set. Ons Jabeur

While Sabalenka fought her way through on Wednesday, Jabeur defeated Sorana Cirstea, 7-6(3) 6-1, on Thursday in her first official match of the season, having received a bye, and will face Ukrainian qualifier, Marta Kostyuk, in the Last 8.

“Very happy, great start for me,” Jabeur said. “Obviously, I wanted to win the first set much easier, but I will have to learn from it and keep more energy.”

The Tunisian showed some brilliance alongside patches of rust as she broke twice in the opening set, but she was then pegged back due to a string of errors.

Cirstea, a Romanian ranked 45, frustrated Jabeur with her flat ball-striking to force a tiebreak, in which the top seed built a quick 4-0 lead, and sealed the opener.

“Happy that I stayed calm, not angry that I missed the two breaks that I was up with, and keeping my calm to play my game,” Jabeur added. “That tiebreak helped me play a better second set.”

She swept through the second to record her first win of the year in 77 minutes, striking an array of winners that included a dazzling drop-shot.

Irina-Camelia Begu stormed past Jelena Ostapenko to play Veronika Kudermetova in the Last 8

© Graham Denholm/Getty Images

Begu, another Romanian, ranked 34 and also unseeded, needed just 73 minutes to book her spot in her first WTA 500 quarter-final in nearly a year with an emphatic 6-3 6-0 upset win over Ostapenko, the 7th seed from Latvia.

Trailing 3-1 in the first set, Begu won 11 games in a row to break a 1-1 head-to-head record with the Latvian in their first hard-court meeting, having won 5 years ago on the clay of Madrid, while Ostapenko got her revenge last summer at Wimbledon on grass.

Begu’s 19 winners to 12 unforced errors was bolstered by an erratic Ostapenko, who struck 13 winners against a staggering 41 miscues.

The Romania’s next challenge is the No 4 seed Veronika Kudermetova from Russia, who streaked to victory on Wednesday by winning the last 12 games against 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu from Canada.

18-year old Linda Noskova swept past Claire Liu into the Adelaide quarter-finals on Thursday

© Sarah Reed/Getty Images

After taking out 3rd-seeded Daria Kasatkina in the 1st-round for her first career Top 10 win, 18-year-old Czech Linda Noskova made it into the quarter-finals of the WTA 500 event with a 6-2 6-2 win over American Claire Liu.

Both came through qualifying, but it was Noskova who was a class above Liu in a clinical 73-minute performance, despite being ranked nearly 50 spots lower in the WTA rankings.

Noskova broke serve 4 times, never lost her own, and struck 20 winners to advance to a quarter-final encounter against former World No 1 and two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka.

The Belarusian defeated Zheng Qinwen, withstanding a barrage of 10 aces from the 20-year-old Chinese, and maintaining a sustained level of return pressure.

She generated 11 break points and broke 4 times over the 1-hour and 40-minute match, while holding Zheng to just 2 break points.

Zheng struck 34 winners against Azarenka’s 14, but she also made 35 unforced errors to the Belarusian’s 10, which proved decisive.

“I felt that I stuck to my game plan pretty well,” said Azarenka, who is ranked 26 in the world. “I was consistent and I was taking my chances when I could.

“I was a lot more aggressive and a bit more comfortable today on the court.”

Victoria Azarenka fought her way past Qinwen Zheng and will meet Linda Noskova in the Last 8 next

© Sarah Reed/Getty Images

The quarter-final line-up on Friday is:

  • Ons Jabeur (1) v Marta Kostyuk (Q)
  • Linda Noskova (Q) v Victoria Azarenka
  • Irina-Camelia Begu v Veronika Kudermetova (4)
  • Market Vondroousova (SR) v Aryna Sabalenka (2)



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