BUCHAREST, Romania -- No.1 seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia won the nightcap at the BRD Bucharest Open on Wednesday, easing past Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands, 6-1, 7-5, to make the quarterfinals in the Romanian capital.
In the first meeting between the combatants, 2016 Bucharest finalist Sevastova zoomed through the opening set but had to survive a solid effort from Rus in the second set, before the top seed ultimately prevailed in one hour and 23 minutes.
"I got a little bit nervous," Sevastova told the media regarding the tight second set, after the match. "I still got chances to finish it maybe 6-3 or 6-4, but at 5-4 she played a pretty good game, it was good for her. But still, 7-5, it was fine and I served it out, not like the previous at 5-4, so I am happy it was still two sets."
Sevastova was solid on return throughout the match as a whole, winning just over half of the points on her opponent's first serve, as well as half of the Dutchwoman's second service points. Rus broke Sevastova twice but could not consistently clinch her own service games, being broken five times.
"I am happy how I feel physically. I moved much better [than in the first round] and these conditions, in the night, suit me," said Sevastova, who has a 7-2 record in Bucharest.
"I like everything here. I like the balls, I like the court, I like that a lot of people are watching and also, I like the night matches here," Sevastova continued, with a smile. "Everything suits me, and Bucharest is a nice city."
In the final eight, World No.22 Sevastova will face either Maryna Zanevska of Belgium or Bucharest native and No.5 seed Sorana Cirstea. Zanevska and Cirstea play their second-round match on Thursday.
Sevastova got off to a flying start in the encounter. She took the Dutchwoman’s first service game after Rus led 40-15, using incredible defense to chase down all of the left-hander’s powerful shots before a wide forehand gave the Latvian a 2-0 lead.
After Sevastova fended off a break point in the following game, it was one-way traffic throughout the set, as the top seed used her patented guile to reel off the first five games of the match, culminating in a successful forehand dropshot which gave her the 5-0 lead.
A love hold got Rus on the board at 5-1, but Sevastova was not stressed when serving out the set, holding with ease after Rus sent a service return wide at 40-15. Sevastova got less than half of her first serves in play during the opening set, but when she did, she was tough to beat, winning 10 out of those 12 points.
Rus put up an exceptional fight in the second set, as her powerful lefty forehand began to click. The Dutchwoman, ranked World No.111, worked her way into the set after two tough service holds, and an easy game on serve at 3-2 paid dividends when she claimed the first break of the set for 4-2, after Sevastova double faulted while down break point.
However, the Latvian rebounded in the very next game, breaking the suddenly error-prone Dutchwoman at love to pull back on serve. Sevastova began to rely on pulling Rus to the net with drop shots, then passing or lobbing the unseeded player for winners, and the tactic worked as the top seed broke Rus again for a 5-4 lead and a chance to serve out the match.
But Rus was not done yet, and a collection of huge forehands led her to another break of the Sevastova serve, and the set was once again level. But Rus could not control her unforced errors at 5-5, and dropped serve for the fifth time in the tilt. Serving for the match again, the second time was the charm for Sevastova, who claimed the match with a forehand winner on her third match point.