It was a good day for the seeds in Linz as they went four out of four, all reaching the quarter-finals with straight set wins. The words Garbiñe Muguruza and unconvincing have been paired up quite a few times in the last month but not today… Muguruza produced an excellent display of attacking tennis to overwhelm Monica Niculescu, 6-1 6-1.
The Romanian player didn’t have a great day with many of her drop shots landing in the net. It felt like this court doesn’t suit her game as her shots didn’t have the same fizzle that they normally do. Muguruza moved well and was very effective at the net.
Madison Keys also dropped just two games in a 47 minute (!) demolition job of Misaki Doi. Keys didn’t face a break point and won 21 out of 22 points behind her first serve. Dominika Cibulkova followed suit with another dominant performance, beating Annika Beck, 6-1 6-3. Cibulkova has dropped just seven games in her first two matches. Muguruza and Keys are looking really strong for Singapore, while Cibulkova will need to reach at least the semi-finals to add points to her race ranking.
In a rematch of last year’s Linz semi-final, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat Kirsten Flipkens, 6-4 7-6(2). The defending champion won five games on the trot having been down 1-4 in the first set.
Viktorija Golubic continued her wonderful season with a 6-4 7-5 second round victory over Julia Goerges. Golubic saved a set point in the first set and sealed a virtual bagel in the second set, fighting back from *0-4 *30-30 down to win in straights.
Johanna Konta was scheduled to play Wang Qiang in the first match of the day in Hong Kong but was forced to pull out of the tournament through injury. This means that Konta will have to rely on other results if she is to qualify for the WTA Finals in Singapore as she is not currently scheduled to play next week.
Caroline Wozniacki has won 16 matches at her last five tournaments and is still going strong in Hong Kong after a hard fought 6-3 6-3 win over Heather Watson in the second round. Wozniacki plays Wang in the quarter-finals.
There could have been an all-French BFF clash in the quarter-finals between Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia but that didn’t come to fruition. Mladenovic edged Nao Hibino in straight sets, 7-6(5) 6-2, saving a set point in the first set, but Garcia lost in three sets to Bethanie Mattek-Sands – this is Beth’s first singles quarter-final of 2016.
Angelique Kerber dropped just one game on the resumption of her second round match against Louisa Chirico, prevailing in three sets, 6-2 3-6 6-2. Next up will be Daria Gavrilova who had an excellent straight sets victory over Katerina Siniakova.
And finally, congrats to Alizé Cornet who beat Venus Williams for the first time in seven tries! Cornet v Jankovic in the quarter-finals sounds rather mega.
Over in Tianjin, Agnieszka Radwanska produced another clinical display in beating Evgeniya Rodina, 6-1 6-1 but then withdrew from the tournament. This means that Peng Shuai gets a walkover to the semi-finals. Peng beat Chang Kai-Chen on Thursday, but also had a walkover in the first round when Zhang Shuai withdrew! If there’s anyone who deserves a slice of luck then it’s Peng…
Monica Puig and Alison Riske also advanced to the quarter-finals of Tianjin with straight set wins. The quarter-finals will be played on Friday with Kuznetsova v Osaka the highlight.