SHENZHEN, China - No.5 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova extended her winning streak to seven straight matches thanks to a straight-sets win over former finalist Peng Shuai at the Shenzhen Open.
The Russian, who captured her third career title at the WTA 125 Series event in Limoges, France to end 2019, bested the 2014 runner-up in Shenzhen, 7-6(7), 6-1, in 83 minutes to reach her first quarterfinal in her third main draw, and fourth overall, appearance at the tournament.
"The first set was tough, because the start was good, then the middle was so bad, and the end was okay," the Russian said after the match.
"I think she played extremely well at the end in the first set. In the second set, I was lucky that I could break her, and after, it was much easier for me."
A tight opening set could've gone to either player, and ultimately proved to be decisive in the result of the match as it lasted the better part of an hour.
The Russian was the first to hold a lead, as she built a 3-0, 40-15 advantage, only to see the Chinese veteran turn the set on its head by winning the next five games.
The World No.108 could not take advantage of her momentum, however, losing serve to 15 in the 10th game -- and ultimately, saw two set points slip away in the set.
Alexandrova saved the first set point on her serve en route to forcing a winner-take-all tiebreak, and won the last three points to hang on at the end.
With the first set in hand, the World No.34 sprinted through to the finish, and a quarterfinal date with either No.4 seed Wang Qiang or Aliaksandra Sasnovich, by winning the last five games of the match.
"It feels great to finally play in the quarterfinals here, because I'm playing for the fourth time here," she said. "I'm really excited and I hope I can do my best. I had a great preseason so right now, I'm feeling very confident and good on the court."