No.1 seed Karolina Pliskova and No.4 seed Aryna Sabalenka completed their 45th win of the year to reach in a dominant way the quarter-finals at the Tianjin Open. Pliskova completed a 6-1 6-2 victory over Polona Hercog to claim the 11th quarter-final (or above) in 21 tournaments this year, while Sabalenka outpowered 6-1 6-3 Magda Linette.
Pliskova beat the Slovenian, who owns a 1-20 record against Top 20 players, for the fourth time in five meeting, with Hercog's only win coming at 2014 Beijing.
"I think I was quite good today," Pliskova told the press, after the match, the WTA website wrote.
"I was feeling good, I was serving pretty well. I didn’t lose my serve, which I think was important." The Czech saved the only breakpoint conceded and won 67% of second serve points as she completed the 180th main draw career victory on hardcourts.
She remained in 8th position in the Race to Singapore, just 10 points ahead of Kiki Bertens, but she needs to equal the semifinals showing in her only previous appearance in Tianjin in 2015 to add points to her total. Sabalenka defended her hopes to clinch a berth at WTA Finals, although she has to win the title and needs Karolina Pliskova to fall before the semifinals here and Kiki Bertens lose before the quarterfinals in Linz.
However, she just focus on lifting up the trophy where she played her maiden WTA final a year ago losing to Maria Sharapova. Nothing else matters for the Belarusian who stormed through the first five games for the loss of just three points.
In the second set, as she admitted, after losing her serve she became more nervous and played deeper but less aggressive. Linette had no real chance to give a turnaround and went on to suffer the 16th defeat in 17 career clashes against Top 20 opponents.
Su-Wei Hsieh avenged her loss to Veronika Kudermetova in the qualifying rounds in Stuttgart earlier this year, and claimed a 62 26 62 victory that confirms her excellent form in 3-setters as she extended to 15-7 her win-loss record in 2018 at all levels.
Petra Martic brat Fangzhou Liu for the third time in three matches, and all thee metings went to three sets. The Croat, in her debut appearance in Tianjin, completed the 90th main draw career victory at WTA level and reached at least the quarterfinal for the fifth tournament in 2018 after the runner-up finish in Bucharest (l.
Anastasija Sevastova) and the losses in the last 8 in Quebec City (l. Jessica Pegula), Indian Wells (l. Simona Halep) and Budapest (l. Viktoria Kuzmova).