The field for the Brisbane International quarterfinals was finally decided after four days of thrilling and intense tennis, with only one seed (Elena Vesnina) missing out on a quarter-final place. All the quarterfinalists, with the exception of two, had to win a three-set match to get to this stage, reflecting the quality of the field. There were no upsets on the fourth day of action, but there were several close matches that could have gone anyone’s way. Top seed and world number one Angelique Kerber finally made her appearance on the court having waited for three days, and got through a scare in three sets. All the seeds were victorious today after Roberta Vinci progressed against a tricky opponent in straight sets. Whereas, Svetlana Kuznetsova set up a mouth-watering clash against Garbine Muguruza in the quarterfinals after clinching another comfortable victory. Fifth-ranked Dominika Cibulkova almost crashed out of the tournament but managed to survive an inspired opponent to progress to the quarterfinals.
Kerber suffers big scare
The top-ranked German was troubled in her opening match of 2017 against 271th ranked Australian wildcard Ashleigh Barty, who was making a comeback to tennis after a long break. Kerber went down an early break, but managed to recover from that to clinch the first set 6-3 as her backhand was on-point. Barty made the perfect response after the first set loss as she quickly won the second 6-2, much to the surprise of everyone. This also gave her a chance to be placed in the position of being the lowest-ranked player ever to defeat a reigning world number one as the momentum was with her. The experience proved crucial for Kerber as she managed to maintain her composure and run out to a lead early in the final set. She did not look back from then on, sealing the match with an ace, which was ironic as her serving performance was generally poor throughout the match.
Vinci gets through easily
After suffering a big scare in the first round which saw her save five match points, Vinci got past her second-round opponent, Misaki Doi, in straight sets and after just 1 hour and 19 minutes. A tight first set saw the sole break deciding all proceedings after Vinci managed to break serve in the opening game of the match. The second set was more of a one-sided affair as three breaks of serve helped Vinci clinched the match in straights.
Kuznetsova gets past tricky opponent
Svetlana Kuznetsova got past the history-maker in Destanee Aiava in straight sets, but the tight match was not reflected by the scorelines. Aiava managed to trouble Kuznetsova along the way with her strong offensive play and her consistent forehands. A slow start proved costly for Aiava as Kuznetsova got the sole break of the first set in the opening game of the match, which allowed her to take the first set. The second set was much smooth-sailing for the Russian as she broke serve thrice in the set, taking the match in straight sets.
Cibulkova avoids upset
Dominika Cibulkova narrowly avoided an upset against Zhang Shuai, after she came from a set and a break down to triumph in the match. Zhang was troubling Cibulkova with her consistent service games, which was actually helped by the Slovakian’s abundance of unforced errors. Cibulkova finally got herself together in the second set after falling a break behind to win four straight games which eventually got her the second set. The final set saw many momentum changes as the former Australian Open finalist got off to a 4-0 lead before Zhang got back level at 4-4. Nevertheless, Cibulkova maintained her composure to break again and seal the match after 2 hours and 20 minutes.
The top-seeded pairing of Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sania Mirza got through a scare against Irina-Camelia Begu and Daria Kasatkina, who threatened to create a big upset in this evenly-contested match. The American-Indo pair maintained their composure and used their experience to triumph in the match after 1 hour and 25 minutes
Meanwhile, second seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina got a walkover into the semifinals as their opponents Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai withdrew from the match due to a neck injury from Zhang, probably as a precaution for the upcoming Australian Open.