Andrea Petkovic reached the quarterfinals for the second straight year at the Citi Open, left without its two main draws and top seeds after Caroline Wozniacki pulled out of the tournament on Tuesday with a leg injury. Petkovic upset No.2 seed and reigning Us Open championm Sloane Stephens 2-6 6-4 6-2 to claim her first Top 10 win since her victory over Garbine Muguruza in Doha in 2016.
After a straight sets but not so straightforward victory over compatriot Bethanie Mattek-Sands in her opening match, Stephens strolled through the first set. The World No.3, who won her first WTA singles title at the Citi Open in 2015, seemed en route to clinch her fourth consecutive win over Petkovic as she went up a break in the second set.
Petkovic stubbornly came back and secured a key break at 5-4 then holding serve to get the match back on level terms. The 91st-ranked German, who faced three break points in the first two sets and could not manage to save a single one, didn't offer any chance in the decider.
The 2013 Citi Open runner-up dictated play in the third set, breaking Stephens twice, and ended the match with 20 winners, two fewer than Stephens, whose 38 unforced errors, eight more than Petkovic's total, became an excessive burden.
The German will now face either No.6 seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland or Nao Hibino of Japan in her bid to confirm last year's semifinals showing in Washington, where the WTA came in 2012 though the inaugural tournament here was played in 1969, becoming one of the first open professional tennis tournaments held in the United States.
The Citi Open, formerly the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, has since been part of some of the most innovative changes in tennis, including blue courts, instant replay/video boards in the stadium, US Open Series, Sunday Main Draw start and, starting in 2009, an ATP "500" level tournament.
“It’s definitely a confidence boost,” Petkovic said, “but I’ve been in the Top-10 before and I don’t view myself as a player ranked 90-plus. I always expect myself to do the best that I can and beat every player that I play against.”