No.8 seed Emma Raducanu of Great Britain overcame a spirited fight from lucky loser Tamara Korpatsch at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart on Thursday, with Raducanu defeating the German hope 6-0, 2-6, 6-1 in an hour and 39 minutes to reach the quarterfinals.
Reigning US Open champion Raducanu will now take on World No.1 Iga Swiatek in an intriguing quarterfinal on Friday. Not only will this be Raducanu's initial pro meeting with Swiatek, it will also be the British teenager's first match against an opponent ranked inside the Top 10.
Rivalry renewed from juniors: Raducanu and Swiatek met once in juniors, in the 2018 Junior Wimbledon quarterfinals. Swiatek won that match 6-0, 6-1 en route to her lone Junior Grand Slam singles title.
"Of course [Swiatek is] in great form, so it's going to take a very high level from me to make it competitive," Raducanu said, after her win. "I'm looking forward to going out there. She's No.1 in the world, she's won all the tournaments recently, so I feel like I've got no pressure."
By the numbers: Into her first quarterfinal of the season, Raducanu's latest win is projected to nudge her higher up the rankings to at least a new career-high position of World No.11. A Top 10 debut is a possibility for Raducanu if she goes on to win the Stuttgart title.
Raducanu, playing her first Hologic WTA Tour clay-court event, has won back-to-back tour-level matches for only the second time since her historic run to the US Open title as a qualifier ranked No.150. She also won two in a row en route to the Cluj-Napoca quarterfinals at the end of last year.
"Second set is where I came out swinging, I had the match in control," said Raducanu. "And then [Korpatsch] started playing some really good tennis, and maybe I dropped my level a little bit, but she capitalized really well. The way I regrouped for the third set, I think, was what I was most pleased about."
Korpatsch's home-soil run comes to an end with the loss. The World No.118 got into the main draw after Jasmine Paolini's withdrawal and then upset Camila Giorgi in the first round. It was the first time in three main-draw appearances that Korpatsch reached the Stuttgart second round.
Match moments: Raducanu served splendidly in the bagel opener, winning 90 percent of her first-service points and never facing a break point. But Korpatsch used powerful hitting, particularly from the forehand side, to amp up her winners in the second set and force a decider.
Raducanu, though, swiftly took control in the third set, following a sturdy return with a putaway at net to break for 2-0. A return winner gave the Brit a second break for 5-1, and though she faced a break point in the last game, Raducanu recovered, closing out the win with a crosscourt winner.
Kontaveit ekes past Alexandrova for 22nd straight indoor win
In the nightcap clash, No.5 seed Anett Kontaveit edged out Ekaterina Alexandrova 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) in two hours and 14 minutes to claim the last quarterfinal spot in Stuttgart.
Kontaveit has now won a staggering 22 consecutive indoor matches. Her streak includes titles at Ostrava, Moscow, and Cluj-Napoca last year, and another title in St. Petersburg this year.
Kontaveit's two prior encounters with Alexandrova went down to the wire, with Kontaveit winning those by third-set scores of 7-5 and 7-6 respectively. In fact, Alexandrova almost ended Kontaveit's indoor streak last year, when she led 6-4, 4-0 in the Moscow final before Kontaveit came back to win.
Thursday's meeting followed the same pattern. Kontaveit did not serve out the match at 5-4 in the third set, and the pair eventually moved into a tiebreak. There, a netted return by Alexandrova at 5-5 lined up the first match point of the day for either player, which Kontaveit converted with a rally backhand winner.
Kontaveit will take on No.3 seed Aryna Sabalenka in Friday's quarterfinals. Sabalenka has dominated their head-to-head, winning all four of their previous meetings.