WTA Linz: Margarita Gasparyan upsets Kiki Bertens


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WTA Linz: Margarita Gasparyan upsets Kiki Bertens

Kiki Bertens' chances to qualify for the WTA Finals for the first time in singles took a blow as she lost 75 26 76 to Margarita Gasparyan. Tne Russian scored her maiden Top 10 win, came back from a break down in the third and managed to dig deep after founding herself down 15-40 and 0-40 in back-to-back service games, to claim the second WTA quarterfinal of the season after her title-run in Tashkent.

Bertens qualified for her first WTA Finals in Singapore in 2017 in doubles, alongside Johanna Larsson, advancing to the final (l. Babos/Sestini Hlavackova), defeating defending champions Makarova/Vesnina en route. The Russian won the fifth tiebreak of the season to complete the ninth WTA main draw victory in 2018.

Bertens, projected to stay at n.9 in the Race, needs to go deep in Moscow next week to keep her chances alive for the WTA Finals. Gasparyan broke at love to seal the first set, Bertens stormed back in the second and went 3-1 up in the decider.

Gasparyan came back to 4-3 as Bertens failed to convert the break from 15-40 and moved 5-4 up with four consecutive first serves in from 0-40 down in the ninth game. The Russian, on an eight-match winning streak, will face for the second time in her career Camila Giorgi, the 2014 finalist whom she beat in Linz in the round 16 in their lone previous meeting in three sets.

The hard-hitting Italian plays the sixth quarter-final of the season, the 25th in her career and the eight on indoor hardcourts. Barbora Strycova, the defending champion, came back to the quarterfinals in Linz. The Czech, who beat Magdalena Rybarikova in last year's final, defeated her compatriot Krystina Pliskova 6-0 6-1 extending her head to head record to 2-0 having beaten her on clay in Palermo five years ago.

Strycova easily completed the 25th victory of her WTA campaign to reach the fifth quarter-final of the season, bidding to move to the second semifinal after she lost in Birmingham to Magdalena Rybarikova. Pliskova, a former doubles champion in Linz, winning with sister Karolina in 2013, failed to show any kind of resistance.

Strycova will meet the Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck aiming to extend her 2-1 lead in the head to head record. Ekaterina Alexandrova completed just the third comeback win of the season as she defeated Johanna Larsson 3-6 6-1 6-1 extending to 3-18 her win-loss record after losing the opening set.

She will face for the first time Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Born in Chelyabinsk, Russia, Alexandrova began playing tennis at age six; remembers playing on holiday at Spain, on hardcourts, and now trains in Prague, Czech Republic.

The Russian, who best win-by-ranking of her career at tour-level as she defeated No.25 Ivanovic at 2016 Wimbledon to score her career first Grand Slam main draw win, showed enough variety and consistency to outpace the two-time doubles champion.

The Swede won the title here in 2016 and 2017 alongside Kiki Bertens. Kiki Mladenovic offered an outstanding level of tennis in the deciding set to defeat close friend and doubles partner 6-4 4-6 7-5. In the quarterfinals she will face Andrea Petkovic who moved to the last 8 after a routine 6-1 6-3 over compatriot Tatjana Maria. The German leads 6-0 in their head to head record.