There's no stopping top gun Svitolina
Ukrainian advances to Hua Hin quarters
HUA HIN: Top seed Elina Svitolina continued to make serene progress at the GSB Thailand Open presented by E@, dispatching Storm Sanders 6-1, 6-2 to reach her first quarter-final of the season at True Arena Hua Hin on Thursday.
The Ukrainian world No.4 needed just 57 minutes to defeat the Australian qualifier and set up a quarter-final match against eighth seed Nao Hibino of Japan at the US$275,000 tournament.
Svitolina came into the Hua Hin tournament with a modest 4-3 record in 2020, having been ousted in the first round of the Brisbane event by Danielle Collins and the third round of the Australian Open by eventual finalist Garbine Muguruza.
This week, though, she has been finding her form and yesterday landed five aces in her straight-set victory to set up a clash against the Japanese player, who defeated local hope Peangtarn Plipuech in the second round on Wednesday.
Earlier, fifth seed Magda Linette of Poland moved into the quarter-finals with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over China's Peng Shuai.
A blustery wind made life difficult for both players and made serving conditions especially treacherous, but it was the world No.42 who coped with the weather better to move into the last eight for the second successive year.
Both players had raced through their opening matches, but this was to prove an altogether more gruelling affair -- the one-hour eight-minute opening set lasted longer than either players' first-round encounter.
"I'm relieved because the first set was so tight. I managed to produce a couple of incredible shots at the very end of the first set and I'm glad I started the second set well," said Linette, who celebrated her 28th birthday with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Kateryna Bondarenko on Tuesday.
"At the beginning, I was trying to play her game too much and then I slowed down. I realised that I needed to make her move a little bit more. I fought and managed to pull it through."
Meanwhile unseeded Wang Xiyu continued her dream run in Hua Hin.
China's Wang, who stunned second seed Petra Martic of Croatia in the opening round, defeated Barbara Haas of Austria 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the last eight of the tournament.
"I played well today although it was quite windy out there," said world No.134 Wang. "This is my first quarter-final in a WTA tournament and I will try to do my best. But I know I will just have to take it match by match."
Wang will face Linette in the quarter-finals on Friday.
In the other last 16 round match, Romania's Patricia Tig beat China's You Xiaodi 6-1, 6-3. She will next meet world No.36 Zheng Saisai of China.
Third seed Wang Qiang of China will play Loenie Kung of Switzerland in her second quarter-final of 2020.
Wang Qiang delivered a solid serving performance to battle past Katarzyna Kawa of Poland 6-3, 6-4 in the late second round match on Wednesday.
The Chinese No.1 opened her season with a quarter-final run in Shenzhen, and has now won at least two matches in three of the four tournaments she has contested -- including a run to the last 16 at the Australian Open.
Thai veteran Tamarine Tanasugarn and Ukraine's Bondarenko were due to play Japan's Eri Hozumi and Makoto Ninomiya in the doubles last 16 round. wtatennis.com/bangkok post