WTA Osaka: Sloane Stephens, Kiki Bertens and Donna Vekic bow out


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WTA Osaka: Sloane Stephens, Kiki Bertens and Donna Vekic bow out

Three seeded players had been in action in Osaka on Thursday and none of them managed to win at least a set, losing the second-round clashes to end their journey and move towards their next stops in the calendar. Camila Giorgi needed just an hour and 15 minutes to dismiss the struggling American Sloane Stephens 6-0, 6-3, fending off five out of six break chances and dominating on the return to grab six breaks from 14 chances, controlling the pace from start to finish.

Never finding her rhythm and spraying too many errors, Stephens failed to win a game in the first set, dropping the first eight games overall and allowing Camila to sail through with additional breaks in games seven and nine.

The Italian's victory is even more impressive when we know she landed less than 40% of the first serve in and hit 11 double faults, blasting 23 winners and 21 unforced errors to leave Sloane far behind and book the spot in the last eight.

Yulia Putintseva dismantled a qualifier Varvara Flink 6-1, 6-1 in 72 minutes, defending her service games nicely and taking more than 60% of the return points to earn six breaks that propelled her over the top in no time at all.

After playing in the final last week, Misaki Doi is ready to repat that in Osaka, ousting the 7th seed Donna Vekic 7-6, 6-3 after an hour and 36 minutes for the first victory over the Croat since Madrid 2017. Serving at 70%, Misaki fended off three out of five break chances and stole Donna's serve four times, using the fact the Croart served at only 37%.

Despite that, Vekic was 5-3 in front in the opening set and had two set points two games later before the Japanese broke back, gathering the momentum and taking the tie break 7-5 for a massive steal. Vekic was 2-0 in front in set number two before fading away from the court, dropping six of the next seven games as Doi took a full charge to march towards the finish line and into the last eight.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova took care for the 2nd seed Kiki Bertens, claiming a 6-1, 7-5 win in an hour and 30 minutes in their fourth clash of the season so far. The Russian grabbed more than half of the return points, dominating in the opening set and having a break advantage in set number two on four occasions, with Bertens coming back three times and fending off a match point in game ten for seven straight breaks.

Still, that seventh proved to be the lucky one for Anastasia, holding in game 12 to seal the deal and stay on the title course.