Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic, the No 3 seed at the J&T Banka Ostrava Open who lost to Emma Raducanu in the quarter-finals of the US Open, was a comfortable 6-2 6-3 winner against Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo, while Maria Sakkari, the 4th seed from Greece, scored a convincing win over former French Open champ Jelena Ostapenko from Latvia.
I think I prepared very well for this match tactically, and also mentally because it's very tough. You have to win the point many times against her, especially on this surface where it's very slow. I'm happy that I stayed disciplined for the whole match.
Interestingly, Sakkari also fell to Raducanu in New York, the eventual US Open champion.
Elena Rybakina, seeded 7th in Ostrava, slammed down 11 aces on her way to a 6-3 2-6 6-1 victory over qualifier Magda Linette from Poland, but French Open finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova fell to Czech wild-card Tereza Marticova, 7-6(5) 7-6(6), after having trailed 5-1 in the second set.
Bencic is one of two Swiss in the quarters, after Jil Teichmann took out American Alison Riske, 6-3 1-6 6-4, also on Wednesday.
The No 3 seed took an hour 28 minutes to dispatch Sorribes Tormo, with Bencic winning 62% of her first-serve points compared to the Spaniard’s 43%.
Bencic, who also won 60% of her second-serve points to her opponent’s 35%, was broken twice in the match but, crucially, she broke Sorribes Tormo 6 times to put herself comfortably ahead in the clash.
“I think I prepared very well for this match tactically, and also mentally because it’s very tough,” Bencic said after the match. “You have to win the point many times against her, especially on this surface where it’s very slow.
“I’m happy that I stayed disciplined for the whole match.”
For a place in the semi-finals, Bencic will play Anett Kontaveit from Estonia.
Meanwhile, Teichmann ousted Portoroz Open finalist Riske in a minute shy of the two-hour mark and she will play 2nd seed Petra Kvitova from the Czech Republic for a place in the semi-finals where she could potentially meet Bencic.
Sakkari dropped just 7 points on her serve during her dominant win over Ostapenko in an hour and 23 minutes on Thursday, striking 19 winners to 10 unforced errors, while the Latvian hit 15 winners to 27 miscues across the match.
At times a fiery contest, with tennis and tempers flaring, the match ended with a warm handshake at the net after Sakkari had delivered a serving masterclass.
Ostapenko was constantly under pressure, with Sakkari nailing a succession of clean winners off the second serve return.
Serving at 3-4, a flurry of errors gave Sakkari the edge after tracking down an Ostapenko drop-shot before essaying an exquisite high backhand volley winner.
From then on, Ostapenko’s game became wild as she went for bigger winners in her attempt to keep Sakkari at bay, but the high-risk strategy did not pay off and, when the Greek broke at the start of the second set with a forehand winner, she sealed the double break when the Latvian resorted to some ill-advised slice experiments, and coasted to victory thereafter.
Sakkari now has reached her 7th quarter-final of the year and she will next face home favourite Martincova in the indoor hard-court event.
Martincova held 2 match points on Pavlyuchenkova’s serve in the second set and served for the match 3 times before eventually prevailing in the tiebreak.
Earlier, 7th seed Rybakina completed the quarter-final line-up at the Ostrava Open after the Kazakh beat Polish qualifier Linette, 6-3 2-6 6-1, in an hour 37 minutes in their second-round match.
It is Rybakina’s 6th quarter-final of the season after landing her 11 aces, which proved key as Linette was frequently the more creative player off the ground, with her forehand redirections repeatedly catching the Kazakh out.
The World No 59, however, was unable to bring her best form on the biggest points and, having clawed back an early break in the first set, she subsequently dropped it after Rybakina raised her level at the last minute, crunching her best 2 winners of the day on the last two points to break the Pole again.
In the decider, Linette squandered her early positive play by double-faulting to hand Rybakina the first break point at 1-2, and then fell away in a flurry of forehand miscues.
Rybakina will next face an intriguing last-eight clash with top seed Iga Swiatek in a first meeting of the two at this level.