MIAMI -- World No.2 Aryna Sabalenka advanced to her fifth quarterfinal of the season after defeating No.16 seed Barbora Krejcikova 6-3, 6-2 in the fourth round of the Miami Open. Sabalenka will face Romania's Sorana Cirstea on Wednesday.
Sabalenka's victory improved her tour-leading record to 20-2 on the season.
"It was an amazing performance from me," Sabalenka said. "I think I played really great tennis today. Super happy with the level, especially against a player like Barbora, always tough matches against her."
This was the third meeting of the season between Sabalenka and Krejcikova, with all three coming at the first three WTA 1000 events of the season. Krejcikova snapped Sabalenka's 13-match win streak in February en route to the title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Sabalenka got her revenge two weeks ago at the BNP Paribas Open.
While three of their four previous meetings went the distance, Monday night's duel was a more straight-forward win for the World No.2. Behind a superior serving night, Sabalenka went unbroken in the match and faced just one break point. The 34-minute first set was decided by just one break of serve, which came on the first break point of the match.
Serving down 3-2, 30-all, Krejcikova fired her first double-fault of the night and Sabalenka broke for a 4-2 lead after the Czech put a backhand slice into the net. Sabalenka sealed the set three games later, finishing with 12 winners to seven unforced errors, while holding Krejcikova to just one winner off the ground.
"I think in the last two matches I won the first set and every time in the second set I would get crazy on court and talking to myself, lose it a little bit," Sabalenka said. "Today I tried to stay focused no matter what, keep doing my thing, and focus on myself."
The second set saw more of the same from Sabalenka. On a night that saw her serve at 70% first serves in and lose just 10 points on her serve, the reigning Australian Open champion was untouchable. Krejcikova double-faulted twice on break points to hand Sabalenka a double-break lead and she closed out the 66-minute win with ease.
"I think because of my serve today there was a lot of pressure on her," Sabalenka said. "The key today was definitely my serve because I could play with more freedom on her serve. I could play closer to the lines and just go for it."
Cirstea books back-to-back WTA 1000 quarterfinals
The Romanian's sizzling run through the Sunshine Double continued on Monday afternoon, where she defeated Marketa Vondrousova 7-6(3), 6-4 to advance to her first Miami quarterfinal. Currently ranked No.74, the 32-year-old has enjoyed a resurgent four-week run in North America, starting with her quarterfinal run at Indian Wells two weeks ago.
Along with Vondrousova, Cirstea has tallied wins over No.5 Caroline Garcia, Karolina Muchova, and Fernanda Contreras Gomez. She has yet to lose a set.
YET to drop a set 🔥@sorana_cirstea takes out Vondrousova 7-6(3), 6-4 to reach her first quarterfinal in Miami where she will face either Krejcikova or Sabalenka...#MiamiOpen pic.twitter.com/WM02HKNgEP— wta (@WTA) March 27, 2023
Cirstea has yet to face Sabalenka in her career, but she's looking forward to facing the standout player of 2023.
"I think at the moment we have a great top three in my mind, with Swiatek, Sabalenka, and Rybakina. They are playing outstanding. I think it's great to see a match-up week-to-week. Definitely, they are taking tennis to a new level this year."
"I know it's going to be very tough," Cirstea said. "But I've been winning a lot of matches this American swing and I have the confidence. I know what I can play."