DUBAI, UAE - No.6 seed Angelique Kerber is through to the quarterfinals at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships after a commanding win over qualifier Sara Errani, 6-4, 6-2.
The comfortable scoreline belies the trickiness of the match, which featured seven breaks of serve across an hour and five minutes.
Read more: Kerber cruises past Strycova in Dubai opener
“I think it was a tricky match, especially because she was, of course, playing good,” Kerber said in her post-match press conference. “She had a lot of confidence after her matches here already.
“I was just trying to stay in the match and trying to not think about how she was playing. She was playing with a lot of spin. I was just trying to more go with my game.”
With the victory Kerber has reached her fourth quarterfinal of 2018, meaning she’s reached the quarterfinals or better in every single event she’s played so far this year. The German started the season in fine form, lifting the trophy in Sydney before posting a semifinal finish at the Australian Open and reaching the quarterfinals in Qatar.
She books a blockbuster quarterfinal clash with another familiar foe - Karolina Pliskova, the No.3 seed who defeated Carla Suarez Navarro 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 earlier in the day. Kerber leads their head-to-head record 6-3, and has triumphed in three of their last four previous hardcourt encounters.
“Against Pliskova, it's always a tough match,” Kerber said. “I know how she's playing. I know what to expect. I know that I have to play good tennis again. It will be completely different match than today. I'm looking forward to play against her again.”
Joining Kerber in the quarterfinals is No.5 seed Caroline Garcia, who dodged the dangerous Ekaterina Makarova to win 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and 26 minutes.
After being down a break for most of the opening set, Garcia finally broke back at 4-4 to level the match, and put in a herculean effort to save six break points and consolidate. The Frenchwoman needed four set points but managed to wrestle away the lead and close out nearly one-hour-long opening set.
Garcia was under pressure again in the second, dodging break points in her very first service game, but she held firm to break twice more and seal the match. Up next, she will take on either No.2 seed Garbine Muguruza or CiCi Bellis.
Also in action, Naomi Osaka continued her progress after overcoming Anett Kontaveit in a tight straight sets, 6-2, 7-6(5). She awaits the winner between No.1 seed Elina Svitolina and Wang Qiang.