Hobart: Elise Mertens remains on track to third title bid



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Hobart: Elise Mertens remains on track to third title bid

2017-18 champion, Belgium's Elise Mertens defeated Slovakian Viktoria Kuzmova in their round-of-16 match on Wednesday at the Hobart International. The top-seed won 6-1, 6-0 in 56 minutes. Despite the easy-looking scoreline, Mertens said, "No match is easy, and the score was maybe a bit different than the game scores – there were a lot of 40-alls.

I did well on the breakpoints and on my big serving points. I had to relax my mind during the day. Sometimes the rain comes and you have to wait a bit and I think I managed that well." Mertens will play Great Britain's Heather Watson in the quarter-finals.

Watson defeated France's Fiona Ferro 7-6(5), 6-3 in eight minutes shy of the two-hour mark. Australian wildcard Lizette Cabrera continued her march with a three-set win over the Czech Republic's Kristyna Pliskova.

Cabrera came from a set down to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and five minutes. Third seed and Shenzhen International finalist, Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina will play Cabrera in the quarter-finals. Rybakina defeated France's Alize Cornet 7-5, 6-3 in their second-round match.

2014 champion Garbine Muguruza needed two hours and 23 minutes to defeat qualifier Ons Jabeur of Tunisia. The Spaniard lost the opening set and had to save a match point in the third set before getting a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) win for herself.

Speaking after the result of the rain-affected match, Muguruza said, "Very tough match. She was playing very loose and playing just really incredible, so I mean, when your opponent is playing like that you have to level up your game and stay with her until the last moment.

I had a match point down, but I never gave up. And in the end, I was rewarded this time, but I’m happy with the fighting spirit until the last minute." The second-seeded Muguruza will play the fifth seed from Russia, Veronika Kudermetova in the quarter-finals.

Kudermetova defeated the US' Cici Bellis 7-6(6), 6-1 in an hour and 45 minutes. Fourth-seeded Chinese Shuai Zhang will play the US' Lauren Davis in the last-eight. Zhang defeated Ukraine's Kateryna Kozlova 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 in an hour and 49 minutes.

Davis, meanwhile, caused the only upset of the day in her 6-4, 6-4 win over the sixth-seeded Pole Magda Linette. Photo Credit: Hobart International Twitter