Seven of the 8 seeds advanced to the quarter-finals on Wednesday at the Abierto Tampico, the WTA 125 event in Mexico, with the only casualty being 2nd-seeded Marie Bouzkova from the Czech Republic, who was out-run by Italy’s Elisabetta Cocciaretto, 2-6 6-3 7-5.
It was the first major upset to occur in Tampico, in what proved to be a thriller of a match that lasted a full 3 hours.
The 24-year old Czech made it to the semi-finals in Guadalajara last week, and received a wild card here, but could not outlast her 21-year old opponent.
Top seed Elise Mertens from Belgium dropped her opening set in a tiebreak but then rallied against America’s Ashlyn Krueger, 6-7(3) 6-3 6-1, to make the quarters where she will meet Poland’s Magda Linette, who had an easier time against local favourite Renata Zarazua, winning through 6-3 7-5.
Linette is in-form and the encounter with Mertens should prove a worthy battle for both, who are great defenders and possess real fire power when they are feeling comfortable and in a zone.
Mertens too is in superb form, having lifted a title in Monastir two weeks ago, but Linette is perfectly capable of rocking the boat in this contest.
Meanwhile, 3rd-seeded Leylah Fernandez defeated China’s You Xiaodi, 6-3 6-2, to set up an all-Canadian quarter-final against Rebecca Marino, the 8th seed, who battled past Japan’s Moyuka Uchijima, 7-6(4) 6-7(8) 6-3, in 2 hours 29 minutes.
Fernandez won 73.5 per cent of her first-serve points, and broke on 5 of her 9 opportunities, while the 20-year-old also saved 2 of You’s 3 break point chances and fired 2 aces for the win.
Earlier in the day, 31-year old Marino struck 9 aces and won 71.8 per cent of her first-serve points to advance.
Marino is playing the tennis of her life, as evidenced by her highest ranking in over 10 years at No 72, while Fernandez has not played much tennis this year because of injury.
In the lower half of the draw, Katerina Siniakova, the Czech 4th seed, took out Poland’s Magdalena Frech, 6-3 7-6(7), and will meet 6th-seeded Zhu Lin from China, who was an easy 6-1 6-2 winner over Russian Varvara Gracheva.
Siniakova, the current World No 1 in doubles, continues her good form with her quarter-final appearance and meets an opponent who has struggled a bit at this level, although the Chinese has been a force on the ITF and Challenger circuits and may well be ready to step up to the big leagues on a regular basis.
Another young gun, Camila Osorio, the No 7 seed from Colombia, will take on Cocciaretto in the Last 8, having handily dispatched Eva Vedder from the Netherlands, 6-3 6-2.
The 20-year old may be more comfortable on clay courts but is producing a fine run on the Mexican hard courts.