STRASBOURG, France -- Katerina Siniakova moved into her first WTA singles quarterfinal of the season at the Internationaux de Strasbourg on Wednesday, as the Czech ousted No.7 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia, 6-2, 6-4.
"I feel really good on clay," Siniakova told the media, after her win. "It was tough, it was a good match, I’m happy about it."
Alexandrova had defeated Siniakova in their most recent meeting en route to her first-ever WTA singles title in Shenzhen earlier this season, but the Czech turned the tide on the clay of Strasbourg, earning an 80-minute victory to level their head-to-head record at three wins apiece.
Making her first appearance at the event, World No.62 Siniakova won two-thirds of her second-service points on the day, only dropping serve once during the encounter. As for World No.31 Alexandrova, the Russian had a slight edge in winners, outpointing the Czech in that statistic by ten to nine, but the No.7 seed was undone by 31 unforced errors in the tilt.
"Of course [Alexandrova] is a big hitter, she plays fast," said Siniakova. "I was trying to be focused on every point, and I think I did really good today."
"I feel confident on clay now, so hopefully I can continue that, and even next week [at Roland Garros]," the Czech continued.
In the last eight, Siniakova will face the winner of Wednesday’s last second-round match between No.4 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus and Anna Blinkova of Russia. Siniakova has yet to play either in a professional singles match, although she is familiar with both.
"I’m expecting another big hitter," said Siniakova. "I know them both, I will watch and see how they play today. I’m expecting another tough match."
Siniakova got off to a flying start in the clash, firing a forehand pass down the line for a winner to clinch an early service break and lead 2-0. A swift hold for 3-0 consolidated the break, giving the Czech a commanding 3-0 advantage in no time at all.
The unseeded Czech was forced to stare down a break point in her next service game, but Alexandrova clipped the netcord with a forehand on her chance to send the game back to deuce, and after two netted shots by the Russian, Siniakova moved ahead 4-1.
Siniakova claimed a second break to lead 5-1, but serving for the set, the Czech was broken at love, as the Alexandrova forehand came out in full force to bookend that game with winners from that wing. However, after starting the 5-2 game with an ace, Alexandrova hit three double faults in the next five points, including while down set point, to give Siniakova the one-set lead.
A more competitive second set followed, where Siniakova used tremendous depth on her shots to give her a leg up during that timeframe, but Alexandrova was able to withstand break points in her first two service games by forcing errors with her power game.
At 4-4, Siniakova was in danger, as a netted forehand miscue gave her opponent a break point in a critical service game. The Czech upped her game when she needed to most, striking a beautiful backhand to force an error from the net-rushing Russian and return to deuce, eventually holding for 5-4.
The hold proved decisive as Siniakova charged to three match points in the subsequent game. The first two went begging, but on the third, Siniakova chased down everything Alexandrova threw at her before wrapping up the win with a divine angled forehand winner.