Thursday marked the final day of second round play at the 2015 Tianjin Open. One of the last tournaments in Asia before the short indoor swing, the WTA International level event hosted in the Chinese city home to more than seven million people, has already seen some high quality tennis in the first three days of play. More of the same was expected as the remaining players were bidding for a place in the last eight. Second seed Agnieszka Radwanska cruised into the quarterfinals, as did Tianjin native Duan Ying-Ying, Danka Kovinic and Elizaveta Kulichkova.
Second seed Agnieszka Radwanska continued her fantastic Asian swing in emphatic style Thursday night, defeating China’s Qiang Wang 6-1, 6-1 in 57 minutes. The Polish number one is bidding for her second title in less than a month, having won the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo less than three weeks ago. Radwanska was in clinical form, and never let Qiang into the match, much like how she defeated Olga Savchuk at the loss of just one game on Monday night. The world number six is now the favourite to win the title, after number one seed and US Open champion Flavia Pennetta crashed out in the opening round.
The woman who ousted Pennetta was Lyudmyla Kichenok. The Ukrainian qualifier, ranked world number 414 in the world, shocked the US Open champion in straight sets, denting the Italian’s chances of qualifying for the WTA Finals in Singapore. After winning the biggest match of her career thus far, Kichenok faced Tianjin native Duan Ying-Ying for a place in the last eight. After losing the opening set in a first set tiebreak, Duan rallied to win the next two sets and eventually, the match. The Chinese woman safely booked her place in the quarterfinals with a 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-4 win over Kichenok, much to the delight of the Chinese tennis fans in Tianjin.
Next up, Danka Kovinic faced 7th seed Teliana Pereira. Kovinic, a WTA Rising Star from Montenegro, has been playing some great tennis of late, and showed why she is one to watch out for in the years to come. Pereira, a clay court specialist, struggled with Kovinic’s big serve and power right from the off, and never really got a foot hold in the match — despite winning the second set after losing the first. In the end though, it was the 20-year-old Montenegrin upset the Brazilian 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.
On Court 1 earlier in the day, Elizaveta Kulichkova faced Evgeniya Rodina in a battle of the two Russians. Both women have had an inconsistent season, especially Kulichkova. However, the WTA Rising Star has a very powerful game that can hurt anyone when it's on. Against a strong counter puncher in Rodina, Kulichkova needed to take the initiative in most of the rallies, and wanted to be the aggressor, rather than the defender. In this encounter, the youngster did just that, en route to a 6-2, 7-5 win over her compatriot.
After day four at the 2015 Tianjin Open reached its conclusion, the quarter finals were finally established. China’s Duan Ying-Ying will play Danka Kovinic, while Bojana Jovanovski will meet Kristina Mladenovic. Meanwhile, Timea Babos will face Karolina Pliskova, and the winner of that match will play Elizaveta Kulichkova or Agnieszka Radwanska for a place in the showpiece on Sunday afternoon.