No.6 seed Caroline Wozniacki and No.7 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova advanced to the last eight in Eastbourne in contrasting fashion on Thursday, as a full slate of weather-delayed matched began.
WTA Staff

EASTBOURNE, Great Britain - Former champion Caroline Wozniacki rolled into the quarterfinals at the Aegon International in Eastbourne on Thursday, dropping just three games in defeat of Elena Vesnina, 6-1, 6-2.

She will be joined there by No.7 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, winner of the trophy in Eastbourne in 2004, as the Russian later dispatched Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 on Court 2.

The 2009 champ Wozniacki will look to return to the semifinals for the fourth time in her past five trips to Eastbourne when she takes on Simona Halep later today.

Halep, who kept her chances of rising to World No.1 at the end of this week alive the hard way, as she battled for two hours and 40 minutes to oust former Wimbledon semifinalist and lucky loser Tsvetana Pironkova, 6-7(6), 7-6(4), 7-5.

"I think I played very well this morning; served, retruned well and moved well so I was very pleased with that," Wozniacki said. "Elena loves grass, and we had some very close games. I'm just going to go eat something, stretch and change and prepare for the next match."

With matches backlogged since Tuesday due to raining conditions in Eastbourne, efficiency is to be encouraged - and Wozniacki was just that in a 63-minute victory on Court 1.

Breaking serve five times and hitting five aces of her own, the Dane scored her seventh career win in nine meetings against Vesnina - but first since 2013. 

While Wozniacki dropped just three games on Court 1, Kuznetsova needed three sets to overcome the No.9 seed and reach the last eight, scoring her first-ever win against the Frenchwoman in their third career meeting.

In a rematch of their semifinal from the Mutua Madrid Open, which Mladenovic won in straight sets to reach her biggest career final to date, it was Kuznetsova who got off to the stronger of starts. A break in the first game of the match held up for the Russian as she claimed a one-set lead, and never faced a break point in the opening set.

The second set saw Mladenovic get into nearly all of Kuznetsova's service games, as she broke three times and won over 60 percent of points played on return to knot the match at a set apiece. 

Nonetheless, it was Kuznetsova who came through in the decider, as she built a 4-1, double break lead by the second changeover, and broke Mladenovic in the ninth game to seal the win after failing to serve out the match.

Kuznetsova will face No.3 seed Karolina Pliskova for a spot in the semifinals, after the Czech advanced in striaght sets over Peng Shuai, 7-6(3), 6-4, coming from a break down in both sets.

"My second win on grass, and I think it was a little bit better than the first round," Pliskova said. "We were both struggling in the first set but then I think I improved in the second one. I'm just happy I got to play today after two days of waiting. I started really slow...I started to serve better, tried to use the wind and my weapons, then it was better.

"I'll rest a little bit, I don't know how much time I'll have until the next one. I just played two sets now, so it's going to be fine."