The 2nd seed and defending Madrid champion Petra Kvitova has scored the ninth straight triumph in the Spanish capital, ousting Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-3 in an hour and 16 minutes for the seventh quarter-final of the season.
Playing against each other for the eighth time, Petra scored an identical win as in Miami in March, beating Garcia for the fifth time and the third in the last four encounters to stay on the title course. The Czech lost only ten points behind the initial shot, saving the only break point she faced and taking 45% of the return points, enough for three breaks and the place in the final eight.
Caroline fought well in the opener until 3-3, losing the last three games to hand the set to Petra who grabbed the crucial break at 4-3, saving a break point in the next game for a 6-3. Petra barely put a foot wrong in set number two, sailing through her service games and scoring breaks in games five and nine for another commanding win at one of her favorite events.
The fifth-best player of the season in terms of the points won, Belinda Bencic toppled Kateryna Kozlova 6-0, 6-2 in 63 minutes, delivering fury from the first serve and saving all three break points she faced. Kozlova was nowhere near that pace, giving away 60% of the points in her games and getting broken five times to keep Belinda in front all the time.
Bencic needed some 25 minutes to serve a bagel in the first set and rattled off five straight games in set number two to race towards the quarter-final. Alongside Kvitova and Bencic, the 9th seed Ashleigh Barty has been one of the best players of the season as well and she is improving her clay game regularly, beating Yulia Putintseva 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 in two hours and four minutes for the fourth quarter-final in 2019.
Ashleigh saved four out of seven break points and grabbed six breaks to cross the finish line first, dominating in sets two and three to leave Putintseva behind with well-balanced shotmaking and excellent performance on both serve and return.
The 8th seed Sloane Stephens overpowered Saisai Zheng 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in just over two hours, repelling 13 out of 16 break points and playing better and better as the match progressed to extend the campaign after a mediocre season so far.