No.2 seed Aryna Sabalenka ended 16-year-old wild card Mirra Andreeva's run at the Mutua Madrid Open 6-3, 6-1 in the fourth round.
The result puts Sabalenka, the champion here in 2021, into the last eight for the second time in her career. She has reached at least the quarterfinal stage at all seven tournaments she has contested in 2023, and her overall record now stands at 26-4.
Andreeva, the youngest player ever to reach the last 16 of a WTA 1000 event, lost for the first time in a professional match this year. After winning consecutive ITF W60 events in April, the teenager upset Leylah Fernandez, Beatriz Haddad Maia and Magda Linette in Madrid to take her winning streak to 16 matches.
How the match was won: In a match between the Australian Open champion and the Australian Open junior finalist, Sabalenka brought a significant edge in both power and experience. Andreeva had won her first ever encounter with a Top 50 player against Fernandez, then her first two meetings with Top 20 players against Haddad Maia and Linette. But this was the first time she had played a Top 10 player.
Nonetheless, Andreeva held her own in the opening stages. Redirecting the ball superbly, she recovered from dropping serve in the opening game, and held two points to lead 3-1. But Sabalenka saved both, and took a 3-2 lead herself after an Andreeva double fault.
Sabalenka never relinquished momentum after that. Ferocious returning saw her break Andreeva again for the first set, and she cruised through the second set as Andreeva was increasingly overpowered.
A sprinkling of clever drop shots and precise backhands were reminders of Andreeva's raw talent, but ultimately the tale of the match lay in Sabalenka's 28 winners -- double Andreeva's tally of 14 -- to only 16 unforced errors.
Sherif becomes first Egyptian in WTA 1000 quarterfinal: Sabalenka will face Mayar Sherif in the last eight after the World No.59 overcame No.24 seed Elise Mertens 6-4, 0-6, 6-4 in a 2-hour, 53-minute rollercoaster.
The result continues a trailblazing path for Egypt's Sherif. The 26-year-old became the first player from her country to crack the Top 100 in August 2021; to break the Top 50 in May 2022; and to win a Hologic WTA Tour title in Parma last October.
Now, Sherif has become the first Egyptian ever to reach a WTA 1000 quarterfinal.
More to come...