Bertens boosts WTA Finals hopes as former champions advance
Kiki Bertens moved a step closer to claiming a place at the WTA Finals by reaching the second round of the Linz Open on Wednesday.
Needing to make at least the quarter-finals to add to her tally in the quest to qualify for Singapore, Bertens swept aside wild card Barbara Haas 6-2 6-1 in a consummate performance.
Second seed Bertens broke her opponent four times to record a comfortable victory, and she will be sure to improve her points haul if she can overcome Margarita Gasparyan on Thursday and seal a spot in the last eight.
Heading into this week, Karolina Pliskova occupies the eighth and final qualification spot but Bertens, a three-time winner in 2018, is only one place and 10 points adrift.
Meanwhile, former Linz Open champions Barbora Strycova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova each came through their matches on Wednesday.
Strycova, triumphant at the event 12 months ago, ousted Kirsten Flipkens 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5) in her opener, while 2015 winner Pavlyuchenkova came from behind to see off Vera Lapko 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 and book a quarter-final berth.
Former runners-up Camila Giorgi and Julia Goerges experienced contrasting fortunes - the latter, seeded first, seeing a match point go to waste as she fell to a shock 1-6 7-5 6-4 reverse against fellow German Andrea Petkovic.
There were no such problems for Giorgi, however, as she overcame Jil Teichmann 7-6 (7-2) 6-3, while there were also wins for Ekaterina Alexandrova and Alison Van Uytvanck.