Britain’s Jo Konta won her first two, back to back, matches of the season to reach the quarter-finals of the Abierto GNP Seguros in Monterrey, Mexico, moving past Tatjana Maria on Thursday with a 7-6(4) 6-3 victory, while top seed Elina Svitolina swept over qualifier Olga Govortsova of Belarus, also in straight sets.
It was an incredibly tough match. [Maria] is very crafty, and very creative on the court, and quite frankly made me uncomfortable today. She plays a game that is very tough to get rhythm against. Jo Konta
“I’m really pleased I was able to try to play the game, find a way, and basically be able to work my way through that match,” Konta said.
Konta, who took out Kim Clijsters in her opening round on Tuesday, had 10 break points without converting a single one on her way to a first-set tiebreak against her German opponent.
In the first meeting between the two players, the World No 16 needed well over an hour to claim the opener, and a single break of serve in the second set was enough to wrap up the match in an hour and 47 minutes.
World No 91 Maria fought valiantly, firing 11 aces, as well as staving off those break points she faced and she pulled level in the breaker when Konta led 4-2, only to to be flummoxed by a powerful reflex return from the Brit, firing her reply into the net.
From 5-4, Konta did not cede that chance, held her 2 service points with power hitting, and clinched a hard-earned one-set lead over the gritty German.
In the second, Konta converted her 12th break point opportunity to take the decisive lead and did not look back.
Serving for victory at 5-3, Konta saw her first 2 match points slip away due to errors, and after a 3rd straight miscue, Maria suddenly held just her 2nd break point of the day, but the German found the net with an error of her own to squander her chance, and at deuce, another winning volley by Konta queued up a 3rd match point, which she converted with a fierce forehand to force another error from her opponent.
“It was an incredibly tough match,” Konta said, after her win. “[Maria] is very crafty, and very creative on the court, and quite frankly made me uncomfortable today.
“She plays a game that is very tough to get rhythm against.”
In reaching the last 8, matching her 2016 showing in Monterrey, Konta will next meet Russian teenager Anastasia Potapova in the quarter-finals.
Potapova pulled off a come-from-behind three-set win over Tamara Zidansek earlier on Thursday to reach her 3rd WTA quarter-final of the season.
“[Potapova is] very young, very talented, she’s playing better and better as the season’s going,” Konta stated. “She’s young, so she’s obviously going to be playing very fearless, and really I’m sure inspired and motivated.
“That’s also exciting for me to play.”
Ukraine’s No 1 seed, Elina Svitolina, raced into the quarters by picking up a 6-3 6-4 victory over qualifier Olga Govortsova of Belarus on Thursday night.
“I feel great,” Svitolina told the press, after her win. “I’m feeling fit and ready to play my quarter-final.
“Every match matters a lot. I try to prepare and be ready for anything that comes my way.”
In the first meeting between World No 7 and the 142nd-ranked Govortsova, it was Svitolina who claimed the win after an hour and 18 minutes of play.
Svitolina won nearly 80 percent of points on her first serve during the clash, and broke her opponent 4 times while only dropping serve twice.
“I tried to be on my feet all the time, and tried to move really quickly, so I think this was the key to stay focused for every point,” Svitolina stated.
In the last 8, Svitolina takes on surging Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez.
The 17-year-old, who reached her first WTA singles final last week in Acapulco, continues her strong form this week, including a victory over Sloane Stephens which propelled her into the quarter-finals.
“I know that [Fernandez is] starting to play well in 2020,” said Svitolina. “She strikes the ball really good, and it’s important to be ready and to try to dominate. For me, it’s important just to focus on my game, really.”