MONTERREY, Mexico - Top seed Angelique Kerber enjoyed a decisive 6-3, 6-4 win over Czech youngster Karolina Muchova to round out the Abierto GNP Seguros quarterfinal line-up in Monterrey.
"I knew what to expect before the match," she said in her post-win press conference. "I was trying to play good tennis, to play every single point, being aggressive. I think it was a really close match; two or three points decided each set. I'm happy with how I played tonight."
While Kerber narrowly beat Muchova in three tough sets at the Miami Open two weeks ago, the three-time Grand Slam champion was much more efficient on Thursday night, advancing after one hour and 24 minutes on Cancha Central.
"It's not easy when things get close. The pressure is always there, but I feel good being here again in the quarters. I enjoy my time here in Monterrey, and I'm looking forward to playing another good match.
"I feel welcome here, and have a lot of friends and fans in Monterrey. It would mean a lot to win the title, but that's a long way away."
Kerber has finished runner-up in her last two Monterrey appearances in 2013 and 2017, and stands three wins from a first title in Mexico after a pair of straight set wins.
Grabbing the sole break of the opening set, Kerber stood strong as she faced down four break points on her own serve to close in on victory.
A quarterfinalist at the Qatar Total Open, Muchova showed more of her mettle in the second set, exchanging breaks with the former World No.1 early on and surviving a long penultimate game - in which she saved a match point - forcing Kerber to serve it out.
The German would do so to love, completing a star-studded quarterfinal Friday schedule that includes fellow former No.1s Garbiñe Muguruza, who won the title last year, and Victoria Azarenka.
Standing between her and a spot in the semifinals is No.6 seed Kirsten Flipkens, who is also yet to drop a set in Monterrey after a 6-3, 6-3 win over Dalila Jakupovic.
"She's a really tricky opponent with a lot of experience on tour, so I know it won't be easy. We both know each other really well, and we know we'll have to play good tennis to win."