The 2nd seed and 2015 Indian Wells champion Simona Halep will not have the opportunity to chase the second crown in the desert next week, bowing out to Marketa Vondrousova 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 in an hour and 39 minutes. This was their first meeting on the Tour and a teenager crossed the finish line first despite the fact Simona seized all five break points she earned, playing a terrible match considering the performance on serve and suffering eight breaks from nine chances offered to Vondrousova!
Just like against Kozlova in the previous round, Halep had zero advantage from the baseline, hitting six winners and mind-blowing 36 unforced errors for one of her worst performances in the last couple of years, heading to Miami with a lot of work to be done.
The opening set saw six breaks in eight games and it was Marketa who clinched four of those in a row, forging a 5-2 advantage and sealing the set with a forehand winner in game eight. The Romanian fought back in set number two, delivering some great numbers behind her serve and breaking in game four for the crucial lead that she carried home with a service winner in game nine for a 6-3 and the deciding set.
Out of sudden, she vanished from the court just like in the first set, getting broken four times in a row and spraying a backhand error in game eight to push Vondrousova over the finish line. An 18-year-old Bianca Andreescu is making her debut at this level of competition and it has been an imposing one so far, defeating the 18th seed Qiang Wang 7-5, 6-2 in an hour and 28 minutes to secure the place in the last eight.
Bianca defended four out of five break points and Wang was unable to follow that pace, staying in touch in the opener before Bianca shifted into a higher gear to seal the deal in straight sets and crack the top-50 for the first time in a career!
The Canadian was off to a flying start, opening a 4-2 lead when Wang started to hit better, winning three games in a row to move 5-4 up, only to lose the following three games and the set. Carried by this momentum, Andreescu grabbed two breaks of serve in set number two and that was more than enough to propel her over the finish line.
After Halep, Kvitova and Stephens, the 7th seed Kiki Bertens has also crashed out from the tournament, suffering a 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 triumph to the two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza in challenging two hours and 25 minutes.
Kiki grabbed the opening set with three breaks of serve and there was not a glimpse of that form in set number two that the Spaniard won 6-1 after three breaks on her tally. In the decider, they traded breaks to stayed locked up at 4-4 before Garbine moved over the top with a pivotal break in game ten to secure the place in the quarters.