NANCHANG, China - No.3 seed Magda Linette moved into her third quarterfinal of the season at the Jiangxi Open with an emphatic 6-2, 6-3 defeat of wildcard Liu Fangzhou in just 58 minutes.
The Pole, a semifinalist here last year, reprised her 2015 Kuala Lumpur qualifying victory over Liu in comfortable fashion, outclassing her opponent over the course of the match with immaculate serving and clean ballstriking off the ground. Linette, who lifted her maiden trophy in The Bronx last month, would send down at least one ace in each of her service games for a tally of 14, won 28 of her 32 first serve points and conceded only 12 points behind her serve in total. In addition, the 27-year-old would also strike 20 winners to just seven unforced errors.
With Liu unable to force a single break point, all the pressure was thus on the home player's service games. The 23-year-old is a two-time Nanchang quarterfinalist in 2016 and 2018, and reached a career high of World No.127 in April 2017 before tumbling to her current World No.263 this year; she is competing in her first WTA main draw of the season, and needed to save two match points before overcoming qualifier Anna Danilina in the first round. Liu's lack of recent experience at this level told: although she displayed flashes of fine ballstriking off both wings, maintaining her consistency proved an issue.
Moreover, in contrast to Linette's fine serving, Liu's second serve was a weakness that the World No.45 exploited relentlessly, winning five of the 18 points after the Chinese player missed her first delivery.
Consequently, Linette would often have a toehold in the Liu serve, breaking twice in a one-sided first set. Though the lower-ranked player would raise her game to stick with Linette for the first six games of the second set, the crucial flurry of errors came in the eighth game, with netted backhands and forehands over the baseline handing the Hua Hin semifinalist the opportunity to serve for the win.
There would be no drop-off in Linette's phenomenal standard of serving as she wrapped up victory with, appropriately enough, her 14th ace of the day to set up a quarterfinal clash against either No.5 seed Rebecca Peterson or qualifier Jana Fett.