Wta Hong Kong: Daria Gavrilova fights hard to beat Monica Niculescu


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Wta Hong Kong: Daria Gavrilova fights hard to beat Monica Niculescu

No.1 seed Elina Svitolina took a dominating 6-0 6-3 victory over Nao Hibino, who suffered the sixth straight Top 10 defeat, to reach the tenth quarter-final of the season. She never played Nao Hibino before although they were scheduled to meet in the second round of Kuala Lumpur last year, but the Ukrainian gave a walkover and the Japanese went on to reach her third WTA final.

Svitolina will face No.6 seed Wang Qiang, who sealed the 33rd win and the seventh WTA quarter-final of the season beating Christina McHale 7-5 6-1. Wang gained three second serve points every four to seal her tenth victory in the last 12 matches against the American, who lived in Hong Kong for five years when she was a child.

Having wrapped up her 25th win in 31 matches in the last three months, Wang will aim to complete the first victory over the Ukrainian who leads 3-0 in their head to heads and beat her twice this year on hardcourts at Dubai and Us Open.

Last year's Hong Kong Open runner-up Daria Gavrilova reached at least the quarterfinals for the fourth time in four appearances in the tournament as she completed a tense 6-3 4-6 7-6 victory over Monica Niculescu, whose forehand slice and confident net play unnerved the seventh seed as unforced errors started creeping into her game.

Gavrilova led 5-0 in the opening set and 5-1 in the decider; she even served three times for the match giving always a chance to her opponent, bidding to win back-to-back WTA main draw matches for the first time since Miami, to fight back.

"I probably was getting a bit too emotional and frustrated because I felt like I was dictating, but I was making too many errors," Gavrilova said. "I stepped up my game but I wasn't really happy with the way I was going from super good to not great." Gavrilova, who beat world number 18 Jelena Ostapenko in Wuhan and stunned world number seven Petra Kvitova in Beijing, extended to 9-5 her record in final-set tiebreaks and sealed the third quarter-finals showing of the season after the semifinal losses in Acapulco and Sydney.

Gavrilova now faces China's number two Zhang Shuai, who wrapped up a 6-1 6-7 6-1 win over Lesley Kerkhove. Speaking after the win, Zhang said she felt "everything is coming together. I like playing Asia, I like playing China, Hong Kong -- I'm feeling happy here."

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