BEIJING, China - 2014 Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkva scored her first win over former World No.3 Sloane Stephens in over three years, rallying from a set down to defeat the No.9 seed, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 and reach the last eight at the China Open.
The Slovak lost tough matches to Stephens at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel and 2017 US Open - where the latter went on to win her first major title - but avenged the defeats in style on Wednesday night, emerging victorious in just over two hours on Diamond Court.
Cibulkova got off to a strong start, winning the first three games of the match, but Stephens found a second gear as the former World No.4 began to struggle with her range, ending the set with 16 unforced errors.
Undaunted, she broke early in the second set, and while the American leveled proceedings two games later, Cibulkova took another lead and saved three break points to get within four points of a final set.
Winning seven straight games, it wasn't until 0-4 in the third that Stephens was able to get on the board, recovering one of the two breaks. Cibulkova held on from there, serving out the final game to 30.
In all, Cibulkova struck 20 winners to 36 unforced errors, while Stephens hit 22 winners to 25 unforced; with each engineering 10 break point opportunities, it was the Slovak who proved more successful, coverted six to Stephens' four.
Up next for the 2018 Wimbledon quarterfinalist is US Open semifinalist Anastasija Sevastova, who maintained her mastery over Donna Vekic earlier in the day.