WTA Linz: Sabalenka, Mertens Book Quarterfinals Berths

Aryna Sabalenka (photo: Upper Austria Ladies Linz/Getty Images)

STARNBERG/LINZ, November 12, 2020

The top two seeds of the Upper Austria Ladies Linz are through to the quarterfinals and will lead Friday’s line-up at the TipsArena Linz.

World No. 11 Aryna Sabalenka eased past Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele 6-0, 6-3 in her second-round match on Thursday. The 22-year-old Belarusian saved all nine break points she faced and capitalized on four of her six own break-point chances to advance in one hour and seven minutes.

“I’m really happy with the win today and that I was able stay focused from the first game. No matter what, I was doing my best every point,” Sabalenka said.

“She started to play more aggressively in the second set, using more power. I wasn’t as ready for that, but I adjusted very quickly and that helped me to win the match.”

This week, in addition to chasing after her third trophy of the season, the Minsk native has a chance at cracking the Top 10. Sabalenka has finished each of the past two years ranked No. 11 in the WTA Rankings. When she was asked during her post-match interview what she would prefer, to finish in the Top 10 or winning the title, she responded quickly: “To win the title!”

Up next for Sabalenka will be French qualifier Oceane Dodin, who defeated Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 24 minutes.

Mertens overcomes Zvonareva

Later in the evening, World No. 21 Elise Mertens battled past two-time Grand Slam runner-up Vera Zvonareva of Russia, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2. The No. 2 seed from Belgium won 52 per cent of the total points played to prevail after two hours and 32 minutes.

“I expected tough matches. They all can play tennis. That’s why I was maybe mentally prepared for a third set. I played much better then, more aggressively,” said Mertens, who will next take on No. 5 seed Veronika Kudermetova. The 23-year-old Russian edged out Arantxa Rus from the Netherlands, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 in one hour and 42 minutes.

She is a really hard hitter with a good serve,” Mertens said of her upcoming opponent in the stage of the final eight and added: “So, I have to set up my game again. Then we will see.”

Podoroska advances

In other action, Nadia Podoroska fought past 2018 Linz champion Camila Giorgi of Italy 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-4. The No. 6 seed from Argentina outpointed her opponent 115-112 after two hours and 32 minutes.

“Camila is a great player, and she plays really fast,” Podoroska said. “She can run around the court very fast too, so it’s hard to get her out of position. She has a lot of power, so I knew I had to go after her and not let her take the initiative or let her get comfortable. I had to take so many risks, a lot more than I’m used to, but I knew that was the right way.

“The first set was really high-level, it could have gone either way. The second, I think I got myself together well because I had really lost my calm and my order. In the third, I felt much more comfortable playing first-strike tennis and I had gotten used to that fast pace, and I could keep up my patterns.”

Podoroska will oppose fourth favourite Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia in the quarterfinals.