CINCINNATI, Ohio -- World No.1 Iga Swiatek came from a set down to defeat No.24 Zheng Qinwen 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 and advance to her first Western & Southern Open quarterfinal.
Into her 12 consecutive quarterfinal of the season, Swiatek will face reigning Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova on Friday.
With her win over Zheng, Swiatek is now 60-17 at WTA 1000 tournaments, a winning percentage of 77.9. Only Serena Williams owns a better winning percentage at the Hologic WTA Tour's top-level events, at 84.1 at the WTA-1000 level during her career.
Match notes: Bidding to earn her first win over Swiatek in their fourth meeting, Zheng played a dominant first set and proved better at handling the swirling conditions. A double fault from Swiatek handed Zheng an immediate double-break lead at 3-0, and the 21-year-old played a clean set to win the third set of her career off Swiatek.
Despite serving at just 29 percent in the first set, Zheng was the more comfortable player from the baseline. She hit 8 winners to 11 unforced errors, while Swiatek hit just five winners to 23 unforced errors.
Turning point: After a bathroom break between sets, Swiatek returned to the court with a renewed sense of intensity. She won the first six points of the second set and quickly opened a 5-0 lead by taking advantage of Zheng's second serves and minimizing her own mistakes. Swiatek went from hitting over 20 unforced errors in the first set to just five in the second.
Having locked into a successful game plan against Zheng, Swiatek eased through the final set to extend her head-to-head over Zheng to 4-0.
Stats of the match: After hitting 23 unforced errors in the first set, Swiatek hit just eight for the remainder of the match. Zheng struggled behind her own serve, hitting 36% of her first serves in and winning just 38% of her second-serve points.
Swiatek's thoughts: "I always feel like I just need to focus on myself and what I want to do on court," Swiatek said. "The tactics obviously is important, but it's the second most important thing because the best thing I can do is just kind of play my game and focus on adjusting my game so I can play the best in these conditions. That's what I'm gonna do."
Vondrousova battles the wind to get past Stephens
Vondrousova booked her spot in her first Cincinnati quarterfinal by defeating Sloane Stephens 7-5, 6-3 earlier in the day. The Wimbledon champion is slowly playing herself into form and is into her fifth quarterfinal of the season.
"When we were warming up it wasn't that windy, but when we came on the court I as like, 'Oh my god, what is happening?'" Vondrousova said. "You didn't know what was going to happen. I thought we were serving good in the wind, but it was very tough to play some rallies."
Vondrousova and Stephens had to battle the elements through their duel, but it was Vondrousova who was able to play a cleaner match to win. The Czech hit just 11 unforced errors to Stephens' 33.