Two days after surviving a cliff-hanger in her opening match at the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, USA, top seed and defending champion Angelique Kerber had a quick and easy win on Thursday to book her berth in the quarter-finals. The Australian Open winner breezed past qualifier Kristina Kucova, 6-2, 6-3 for her seventh consecutive win at this tournament.
The left-handed World No. 2 was right on target from the very beginning and broke her opponent seven times while saving eight of the 11 break points she herself faced.
Kerber will next take on Romania’s unseeded Irina-Camelia Begu in a repeat of the quarter-final match they played last year at this very tournament. Begu saved a match point on Thursday to edge past Puerto Rican Monica Puig in a thriller, 1-6, 6-2, 7-6(4).
Kasatkina continues to soar high
18-year-old Daria Kasatkina, meanwhile, continues her meteoric rise in the WTA circuit as she secured her place in the last-eight. The Russian, who is now at her career-best ranking of 35th, made short work of American wildcard Louisa Chirico, 6-0, 6-4 to set up a quarter-final clash with seventh-seeded Sloane Stephens.
The former Australian Open semi-finalist needed just 1 hour 33 minutes to prevail over 12th seeded Daria Gavrilova, 6-4, 6-3.
Venus, Stosur exit
Meanwhile, two former champions fell in the third round as third seed Venus Williams and 10th seed Samantha Stosur both bowed out. While Kazakh youngster Yulia Putintseva earned her first ever win over Venus in a 7-6(5), 2-6, 6-4 slugfest, former French Open runner-up Sara Errani took out Stosur, 6-4, 7-6(5).
The two will be meeting each other on Friday.
The final quarter-final will be played between 2011 runner-up Elena Vesnina and unseeded German Laura Siegemund. Vesnina, who is a qualifier this year, comfortably beat Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain, 6-1, 6-3 while Siegemund got the better of Croatian veteran Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, 7-5, 6-2.