The quarterfinal field was set on Thursday at the Volvo Car Open as the top seed bounced back from a second round scare, while an American favourite was eliminated. Here’s what happened on day four in Charleston.
Angelique Kerber had been forced to survive an epic in her opening match, but the Australian Open champion was showing no ill effects in her third round match with Kristina Kucova, which she won 6-2, 6-3. While Kucova did a good job of putting pressure on her opponents serve, reaching break point 11 times and converting three, her own service was a complete disaster. The Slovakian failed to hold serve in the opening set, and only won five points on her own serve in that frame. She got her act together in the second set, but Kerber also raised her level on serve. The German saved six of seven break points, while grabbing three breaks of her own to wrap up the victory in an hour and 25 minutes.
Venus Williams was the major casualty on day four, as the American star was upset by the red-hot Yulia Puntintseva. The young Kazakh, who upset Sabine Lisicki in the second round, held her nerve in the key moments of a wild deciding set, hanging on to win 7-6(5), 2-6, 6-4. After dropping a back-and-forth opening set a tiebreak, Williams appeared to be in control of the match when she roared back to take the second set in dominant fashion. But her momentum died off in the third set, as the pair continually exchanged breaks until Putintseva grabbed a late lead with her fourth break of the set, eventually holding to complete the upset in exactly three hours.
Sara Errani emerged victorious in the first battle of seeded players of the tournament, defeating Sam Stosur in two tight sets. The battle of French Open runner-ups was wild, with a total of 15 breaks of serve over two sets. Errani was perfect on break point conversions, winning all eight break point opportunities on Stosur’s serve, four in each set. While four breaks was enough to claim the opening set, Stosur managed four of her own in the second to force a tiebreak. But that’s where the Aussie’s fight ended, as Errani took the set and the match in the ensuing tiebreak.
14th seed Daria Kasatkina disappointed the home fans, when she sent wildcard Louisa Chirico packing with a dominant 6-0, 6-4 victory. However, they were able to breath a sigh of relief when the last big home hope, Sloane Stephens, easily advanced in straight sets over 12th seed Daria Gavrilova.
In other action, Laura Siegemund defeated Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, while Elena Vesnina dominated Lourdes Dominguez Lino, both in straight sets. Irina-Camelia Begu rounded out the quarterfinal field by roaring back to defeat Monica Puig 1-6, 6-2 7-6(4).
The quarterfinals will take place tomorrow.