Top seed Elise Mertens reached for the first time the quarterfinals at the Grand Prix Son Altesse Royale La Princesse Lalla Meryem in Rabat as Laura Siegemund was forced to retire in the third set, trailing 6-7(5) 6-0 3-1.
The Belgian, who served for the first set at 5-3 and missed five set points at 6-5, recovered after a disappointing tiebreaker and started her second comeback win of the season. Then Siegemund lunged for a volley and appeared to tweak her left calf.
Tears fell down from her eyes, tears of fears after the ten-month injury layoff for an ACL right knee injury suffered in Nurnberg last season. Mertens claimed the tenth consecutive win and reached the fourth quarterfinal of the year, where she will take again on Sara Errani after her recent Fed Cup win.
The Italian, trailing 0-2 in the head to heads, brushed 6-3 6-0 past Johanna Larsson to seal the seventh victory in eight clashes against the error-prone Swede, who tried to use her inside-in forehand to open up the court but struggled every time Errani changed pace off the backhand side.“The first set was tough, every point was really long, so it wasn’t easy.
The second set, we were both tired and maybe she relaxed a little bit.” Errani said. The eighth seed Su-Wei Hsieh completed the fifth comeback win of the year as she beat qualifier Tamara Zidansek 67(6) 63 63. The Slovenian ended a 14-match winning streak with just the fourth loss in a deciding set to 11 wins this season.
Hsieh, who missed five set points in the first set, extended to 6-3 her win-loss record in third-setters thanks to largely to 69% of second serve return points. She will meet for the first time Ukrainian Katarina Zavatska. In the other quarter-finals, Ajla Tomljanovic awaits for the first time Jana Fett and Aliaksandra Krunic, the No.7 seed aiming to seal the tenth win in Rabat, will face Paula Badosa Gisbert, owning just four WTA main draw wins in her career so far.
The Serbian, who dismissed Sara Sorribes Tormo, has won 8 of her nine clashes against opponents ranked outside the top 200.