The top two seeds at the Cincinnati Open lost their respective third-round matches, on Thursday. Madison Keys ousted the world no. 1 and top seed, Iga Swiatek while Shuai Zhang upset the second-seeded Anett Kontaveit. The American posted a 6-3, 6-4 win against Swiatek in an hour and 25 minutes.
At one point in the match, Keys looked to be cruising towards a 6-3, 6-0 win over her opponent when the match’s momentum veered in favour of the latter. Swiatek saved two match points in the second set, one in the sixth game and the second in the ninth to keep herself in the match.
However, on her own serve in the 10th game of the set, while trying to level the set to five-all, she was broken decisively that ended her aspirations in the WTA 1000 event. Keys broke Swiatek five times in the match while dropping her own serve twice on three occasions.
In the quarter-final, Keys will play Elena Rybakina. The Wimbledon winner pocketed a 6-2, 6-4 win over Keys’ compatriot, Alison Riske in an hour and 28 minutes.
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In her third-round clash against Kontaveit, Zhang needed an hour and 59 minutes to claim a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory.
In the first set, Zhang struggled with her second serve, winning merely 11% of points. She also lost her serve thrice and was able to win only one of her service games. The match tilted in the Chinese player’s favour from the second set onwards as she executed her game better.
She won 62.5% of her second-serve points in the second and third sets. Zhang also didn’t face any break points in the second set although she dropped her serve twice in the deciding set. In comparison, she converted four of the eight break points that came her way on the Estonian’s serve in the latter two sets.
Looking to reach the semi-finals, Zhang will now play Aryna Sabalenka. The sixth seed took down Shelby Rogers in an outing that lasted two hours and 35 minutes, with a 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-4 score. Fifth seed Ons Jabeur and 10th seed Emma Raducanu suffered a similar fate as Swiatek and Kontaveit.
Petra Kvitova defeated Jabeur 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 while the seventh-seeded Jessica Pegula beat Raducanu, 7-5, 6-4. Kvitova’s next opponent will be Ajla Tomljanovic. The Australian reached the maiden quarter-final of a WTA 1000 event with a 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3 win against Veronika Kudermetova.
Pegula will take on Caroline Garcia who posted a 6-4, 7-5 win over Elise Mertens. Following the losses of Iga Swiatek, Anett Kontaveit and Ons Jabeur, Aryna Sabalenka’s the highest seed left in the Cincinnati Open draw.