Belinda Bencic and Coco Gauff were two of the players who moved into the quarterfinals of the Adelaide International on Wednesday afternoon, as the elite eight of the field fills in at the WTA 500 event.
No.2 seed Bencic moved into the last eight in Adelaide for the second straight season, as the Swiss player eased past lucky loser Misaki Doi of Japan, 6-1, 6-3 in an hour and 14 minutes.
16-year-old American qualifier Gauff, on the other hand, had to stage a comeback en route to a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 upset of No.6 seed Petra Martic of Croatia, obtaining victory in just over two hours of play.
World No.12 Bencic took command by attacking Doi’s second serve throughout their match, winning 12 of those 17 points on the day. Bencic had to face 12 break points in the clash, but she saved 10 of them as she advanced to her first quarterfinal of the season.
The scoreline was quite different from their sole previous meeting, where Bencic had to save match point before overcoming Doi in a three-set thriller at the 2015 US Open.
"Misaki’s a very tricky opponent," said Bencic. "I had a good game plan, and I was trying to play really aggressive, stepping up with my game, not having fear, and definitely trying to build up my confidence here."
Bencic zipped through the first set, breaking Doi in all four of the Japanese player’s service games, and claiming the one-set lead with a backhand crosscourt winner.
A return winner by Bencic gave her a love break and a 5-1 lead in the second set before Doi made a minor charge. Doi narrowed the set to 5-3 and held two break points in that game to get back on serve, but Bencic steeled herself to convert her third match point and seal victory.
Gauff and Martic, meanwhile, contested a closely-fought affair before the American teenager claimed a spot in her first WTA quarterfinal since her run to the Lexington semifinals last summer. Both Gauff and Martic had more winners than unforced errors, but Gauff ultimately broke service one more time than her opponent to squeak out the victory.
"I think I've just been taking it one match at a time, to be honest," said Gauff. "I go into every tournament thinking that I can win, and obviously that's impossible to have a perfect record, but I go into every tournament believing that I can win. So I try not to think far ahead in the match, at least I just try to focus on my next match, just because you have to get through that before you can get to the finals, and just take it one match at a time."
Martic was unable to serve out the first set at 5-4, squandering a set point in the process, but she broke Gauff again at 6-5 to garner a second chance, which she took. In the opener, both players had 14 winners, but Gauff was barely undone by firing three more unforced errors than Martic.
However, the tables turned in the second set when Gauff grabbed an early break en route to a 3-0 lead, which she never relinquished on the way to leveling the match. A similar situation occurred in the decider, when Gauff broke at love via a passing winner in the opening game, which served as the only break in the final set.
Now into her first quarterfinal of the season, Gauff will face fellow American Shelby Rogers in the quarterfinals, after Rogers' upset of No.3 seed Johanna Konta on Tuesday. It will be the first meeting between the compatriots.
"I've known Shelby for a couple years now and she lives in the same city as I do, so we practiced together a couple times," said Gauff. "I know she's a big hitter and she hits the ball pretty flat, goes for big shots. So we know each other's games pretty well and it will be interesting to see how it goes. I'm just going to go out there and have fun."
Meanwhile, a quarterfinal meeting was set between two unseeded players, as Anastasija Sevastova and Jil Teichmann each notched sound-round victories and will square off against each other for the first time.
Sevastova, the former World No.11 from Latvia, stopped American lucky loser Christina McHale, 6-4, 6-1, while Switzerland's Teichmann earned an upset of No.8 seed Wang Qiang of China, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Sevastova was thrown a last-minute curveball when her scheduled opponent, No.4 seed Elise Mertens of Belgium, withdrew before their match due to a right shoulder injury. However, Sevastova remained unfazed and advanced past McHale in just over an hour and a half, picking up her first win over the American in their three meetings.
"I always have tough matches with [McHale], I think last time we played, I lost against her in three sets," said Sevastova. "The beginning was hard, but slowly I found my game, and in the second set I think I played pretty well."
"Teichmann, she's a young player, up and coming," said Sevastova. "I've never played her, I don't think I've even practiced with her!"
Teichmann lost her first two matches of the season -- both to Coco Gauff -- but is now into her second consecutive quarterfinal since then, having also reached the elite eight last week at the Phillip Island Trophy.