WTA St. Petersburg: Aryna Sabalenka and Kiki Bertens march on

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WTA St. Petersburg: Aryna Sabalenka and Kiki Bertens march on

The 4th seed Aryna Sabalenka needed 70 minutes to enter the last eight in St. Petersburg, defeating Alison Van Uytvanck 6-1, 6-4 for the first win over the Belgian in two matches. Aryna saved four out of five break points and she won 45% of the return points, creating eight break chances and converting four to control the scoreboard.

The Belarusian made the difference with the second serve and she needed less than 30 minutes to secure the opener, serving well and scoring breaks in games two and six for a 6-1. Aryna saved four break points at the start of the second set before getting broken in game four, trailing 3-1 before rattling off five straight games to cross the finish line without spending further time on the court.

Van Uytvanck lost the ground after that advantage she forged and she couldn't stay in touch with the better-ranked rival in the rest of the match. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova shined in front of the home crowd, taking down the 6th seed Jelena Ostapenko 6-4 6-4 in an hour and 24 minutes after saving six out of seven break points, mounting the pressure on the other side of the net and breaking her rival three times.

Ostapenko served at only 54% and that wasn't enough for a more favorable result, struggling to find the rhythm on the return in the opener after an early break and getting broken at 3-3 to trail in the rest of the set.

Pavlyuchenkova did the same in set number two, clinching a break in the seventh game and staying in front until game ten when she served out for the match. In the battle of the qualifiers, Ekaterina Alexandrova ousted Tereza Martincova 7-5, 6-2, securing the opening set with a late break and winning the last five games of the match for a great result in front of the home crowd, setting the quarter-final clash with Sabalenka on Friday.

The 2nd seed Kiki Bertens had a great day at the office, toppling Ysaline Bonaventure 6-4, 6-2 in 61 minutes to secure the place in the quarters. Bartens fired 13 aces, winning 28 out of 31 points on the first serve and saving three out of four break points to hand her game only once.

Bonaventure was far from those numbers behind her initial shot, allowing four breaks and losing the edge after the opening seven games of the match. Servers were untouchable until 4-3 when we saw three breaks in a row, two for Bertens who won the opener 6-4.

Avoiding a setback at the start of the second set, Kiki shifted into a higher gear to bring the win home with breaks in games two and eight and save energy before more challenging clashes. Second round results:

[Q]Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) vs [Q]Tereza Martincova (CZE) 7-5 6-2
[4]Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) vs Alsion Van Uytvanck (BEL) 6-1 6-4
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs [6]Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 6-4 6-4
[2]Kiki Bertens (NED) vs [Q]Ysaline Bonaventure (BEL) 6-4 6-2