San Diego | Navarro, Pavlyuchenkova and Vekic prevail but Blinkova upsets Yastremska

No 3 seed Emma Navarro defeated Katerina Siniakova to advance to the quarter-finals of the Cymbiotika San Diego Open on Thursday, alongside Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, seeded 4, and Donna Vekic, the 7th seed, while Anna Blinkova upset Dayana Yastremska, seeded 5, to complete the Last 8 line-up.

I love the grind. I love to compete and come out on back-to-back days, putting my best foot forward. Emma Navarro

Navarro advanced to her 3rd quarter-final of the year with a 6-3 3-6 6-1 win over Siniakova, her second over the Czech this month, having beaten the former World Doubles No 1 in 3 sets at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

“She’s obviously a great player, always puts up a great fight,” said the 22-year old American, who captured her first WTA singles title earlier this year in Hobart. “She’s super talented, and made it really tough on me a couple of weeks ago in Dubai and again here tonight. I struggled a little bit from time to time, but I’m happy with the win.”

The NCAA singles champion in 2021, Navarro is into the Last 8 in San Diego for the second year in a row, where she will face Australian qualifier Daria Saville on Friday as she bids to make her 3rd semi-final of the season, and first at a WTA 500 since San Diego last autumn.

From Charleston, Navarro has already notched up 14 main draw wins this season, and is tied with World No 1 Iga Swiatek for the 3rd-most wins this season, sitting behind only Elena Rybakina, with 17, and Jelena Ostapenko, who is on 16.

Improving her head-to-head over Siniakova to 2-1 with a gritty serving performance, Navarro proved difficult to break and although the Czech outgunned her from the baseline, striking 23 winners to the American’s 15, and generating 9 break point chances, the 3rd seed saved 6 of them, and converted 5 of her own 7 break opportunities.

Navarro has little time to recover, though, as she faces a quick turn-around before facing Saville on Friday.

“I love the grind,” she added, unfazed. “I love to compete and come out on back-to-back days, putting my best foot forward.”

4th-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova came from behind and needed over 2 hours and 3 sets to get past Wang Xinyu on Thursday night

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Pavlyuchenkova closed out the night session with a remarkable come-back win over Wang Xinyu from China, 4-6 7-6(5) 6-2 , after trailing by a set and 4-0 in the second before storming back to take the win.

For a place in the semi-finals, Pavlyuchenkova faces No 6 seed Marta Kostyuk from Ukraine in the quarter-finals.

Earlier in the day, Vekic of Croatia fended off a valiant effort by Canadian teenager Marina Stakusic before posting a 6-4 3-6 6-3 win to also reach the quarters.

Vekic, the 2022 San Diego runner-up, took exactly 2 hours to overcome the rising 19-year-old, a qualifier who is ranked 283.

“It was a very tough match today, tough conditions, and she played really well,” said Vekic, the World No 28 who is in her 2nd quarter-final of the season, following her semi-final showing at Linz a month ago. “Really happy to win today, and have another opportunity tomorrow.”

Stakusic, who broke through last year as one of the heroines in Canada’s run to their maiden Billie Jean King Cup championship, slammed a winning volley to go up a break in the 3rd set at 2-1, but Vekic, a former Top 20 player, refused to yield and broke twice in succession, moving ahead 4-2 to claim the lead for herself.

Vekic coolly served out the match at 5-3, finishing the encounter with a 76% success rate behind her first serve, and she now will face Britain’s Katie Boulter in the quarter-finals on Friday.

It will be the first meeting between Vekic and 49th-ranked Boulter, who upset No 2 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia from Brazil on Wednesday.

Anna Blinkova upset 5th seed Dayana Yastremska to move into her first quarter-final of the year

© Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images

Anna Blinkova also moved into the quarter-finals with a 7-6(6) 6-2 win over the No 5 seed and 2024 Australian Open semi-finalist, Dayana Yastremska, from Ukraine.

“In the beginning, she was playing great tennis. Very aggressive, very fast. I was late all the time. I was making mistakes because I was late. She was making winners all over the court,” said Blinkova, who moves into her first quarter-final of 2024. “I just kept on fighting. I was trying to find solutions. I tried to change the trajectory a little bit.”

The Russian is growing accustomed to dramatic come-backs, after famously saving 6 match points to upset World No 4 Elena Rybakina at the Australian Open, 6-4 4-6 7-6(20), in a match that featured the longest tiebreak in Grand Slam history.

Earlier this week in San Diego, she rallied from a set and a break down to defeat former No 1 Caroline Wozniacki.

Blinkova will meet top-seeded Jessica Pegula on Friday, the American having won their 2 prior meetings in 2023.



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