The WTA 250 being held in Istanbul, Turkey, this week, has reached its quarter-final stage, with 2nd-seeded Sorana Cirstea from Romania leading the charge after top seed Elise Mertens, a finalist here last year, was forced to retire in her first-round match against Rebecca Peterson of Sweden because of an injury to her right leg.
On Wednesday, Cirstea, the defending champion, needed 2 hours 30 minutes to get past Arantxa Rus from the Netherlands, 3-6 6-1 7-5, in their second-round meeting, which saw her save a couple of match points on the way.
The Romanian won 62% of her first-serve points and 51% of her second-serve points, converting 6 break points and conceding her own serve 4 times, while the Dutchwoman won 54% of her first-serve points and 47% of her second-serve points.
In the quarters, Cirstea, the World No 24, will play Austrian Julia Grabher, who upset 5th seed Jil Teichmann from Switzerland in their round-of-16 match-up, 6-4 6-4, after an hour and 31 minutes.
Meanwhile, 3rd seed Veronika Kudermetova reached the quarters by way of a walkover after Ana Bogdan, another Romanian, pulled out ahead of their last 16 encounter, and now she will take on Anna Bondar, after the Hungarian took out Nuria Parrizas Diaz from Spain, 6-4 6-2.
Ajla Tomljanovic, the newly installed Australian No 1 at the age of 28 as a result of Ash Barty’s retirement in March, reached the quarter-finals after Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko withdrew mid-match with a shoulder injury..
Tomljanovic, the No 6 seed, took a hard-fought first set 6-4 before the luckless Tsurenko pulled out at 1-0, 30-0 down in the second.
The result puts the Aussie into her first quarter-final at any event since her career-best Grand Slam performance at Wimbledon last year, where she also reached the last-8 before being beaten by Barty.
With the prospect of moving to a career-high ranking in the mid-thirties should she beat her next opponent, Tomljanovic takes on Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva in Friday’s last-8 contest, who was in dominant form in her 6-2 6-0 win over Peterson.
Tomljanovic and Putintseva have played each other 4 times on the WTA Tour, with the Kazakh holding a 3-1 advantage, although the Aussie won their most recent encounter, at San Jose last year.
For the 32-year-old Ukrainian veteran Tsurenko, however, it was another dispiriting moment as she has been in torment since the invasion of her homeland by Russian troops.
She posted an appeal for help on social media after revealing how she had ‘nowhere to go’ when the conflict spread to her home city of Kyiv, and was subsequently overwhelmed by the offers of help.
Tsurenko says she has been suffering from a ‘constant headache’ and panic attacks after watching TV pictures of the dreadful scenes back home.
Elsewhere, Sara Sorribes Tormo, the 6th seed from Spain, was an easy 6-2 6-1 winner over Varvara Gracheva, and she now faces Anastasia Potapova, who dispatched Petra Martic from Croatia, 6-2 6-3.