BEIJING, China - WTA World No.3 Elina Svitolina continued her perfect progress in the China Open on Thursday, beating Elena Vesnina in straight sets, 6-2, 7-5 to reach the quarterfinals.
"I played pretty solid all the match and it was quite a good level of tennis," Svitolina said. "I was very happy I could finish it in two sets and play quite solid tennis, it's a good sign for me moving forward."
The Ukrainian, who reached the semifinal here last year, overcame initial resistance from Vesnina before surging to the first set as she won six consecutive games. She then weathered a comeback from Vesnina in the second set to move into the last eight again in an hour and 49 minutes.
"I was expecting her to come back and do something different and for me it was just a matter of time before I got my rhythm back," Svitolina added.
The 23-year-old had won the last two meetings of the pair - who were level at two wins apiece ahead of Thursday's match.
Vesnina saved two break points in an extended second game of the opening set before breaking Svitolina at the third attempt to move 2-1 ahead, with over half an hour gone.
After a closely fought first three games, the remainder of the set took just over 10 minutes as Svitolina found her rhythm and raced ahead. Winning a fourth break point to level at 2-2, she repeated the feat twice more in rapid succession, breaking to love in the eighth game to take the set 6-2 after winning five successive games.
With Vesnina making 20 unforced errors as she dropped a set in the tournament for the first time, Svitolina continued her form to take the first game of the second set to love. Vesnina finally halted the run to level at a game apiece and kept the set on serve till 3-3.
The 31-year-old had never previously made it past the last 16 in Beijing and was struggling to really hurt Svitolina on her own serve after that promising start to proceedings.
It took until Svitolina's fourth service game of the second set for Vesnina to register a point against her, but that inspired the Russian, who earned what was a rare break point in the match.
Svitolina battled hard, saving five break points in a game that lasted over 13 minutes, but Vesnina would not be denied and took the break at the sixth attempt to take the advantage in set two.
The eighth game of the set also lasted almost 10 minutes as both players dug in, but Vesnina emerged in front to hold her serve and take a 5-3 lead. Svitolina recovered her composure to break back and stop Vesnina from leveling the match before taking a 6-5 lead. Another break sealed the victory for Svitolina as Vesnina ended with 49 unforced errors.
Svitolina, chasing a tour-leading sixth WTA title of the year, will take on Caroline Garcia in the last eight, after the Frenchwoman beat compatriot Alizé Cornet earlier in the day.
"I know that she has played well but tomorrow I will go out there and try not to let her do her stuff," Svitolina said of her next challenge. "I know how she plays and how to prepare to beat her so will do everything that it takes to be ready."