Barty advances to Wuhan quarterfinals

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WUHAN, China — Top-ranked Ash Barty advanced to the Wuhan Open quarterfinals for the third straight year with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Sofia Kenin on Wednesday.

Barty fell behind 5-3 in the second set but saved two set points against her American opponent and won four straight games to avoid a third set.

“I had a period in the second set where I let her see far too many second serves, she was able to take advantage of that,” said Barty. “In the end, I’m really happy with how I was a bit more aggressive towards the end of the second set and closed it out in straight sets.”

The Australian will next face Petra Martic, who beat Veronika Kudermetova of Russia 6-3, 6-1.

Third-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine defeated two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-2.

Despite hitting fewer winners than the Russian, Svitolina had just 15 unforced errors, compared to her opponent’s 33.

“Today I think it was a lot about tactics. Just tried to keep the ball out of the middle, try to work with the ball, try to get the angles and don’t rush,” said Svitolina

Svitolina plays Alison Riske of the United States in the quarterfinals, who ousted eighth-seeded Qiang Wang 6-2, 6-1.

In the first match of the day, Elena Rybakina advanced after Wimbledon champion Simona Halep withdrew with a lower back injury. Halep was trailing 5-4 in the first set.

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka beat sixth-seeded Kiki Bertens 6-1, 7-6 (9) to reach the last eight.

Alycia Parks reaches 1st WTA quarterfinal in Ostrava

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — American qualifier Alycia Parks is having quite the breakthrough tournament in Ostrava.

The 21-year-old Parks earned her first win against a top-10 ranked opponent by beating fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 at the Agel Open on Thursday to reach her first WTA Tour quarterfinal.

The 144th-ranked Parks ousted former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in the opening round – her first win against a top-20 opponent – and showed off her power by hitting 59 winners against Sakkari, compared to just nine for her opponent.

“I came out here not expecting anything, just playing my game, and it got me through the match,” Parks said.

Parks will next face former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who advanced via walkover when Belinda Bencic withdrew with a left foot injury.

Caty McNally, another American qualifier who is playing doubles with Parks in Ostrava, also reached the last eight by beating wild-card entry Karolina Muchova 6-1, 3-6, 6-1. McNally is also into her first WTA quarterfinal and will face top-ranked Iga Swiatek, who advanced Wednesday.

Djokovic beats Van de Zandschulp to reach Astana quarters

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Add Botic van de Zandschulp to the long list of players to have been schooled by Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic eased past Van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday in his first career meeting with the 27-year-old Dutchman to reach the quarterfinals of the Astana Open.

Van de Zandschulp earned one break point in each set but couldn’t seriously threaten Djokovic, who is looking for a second straight indoor hardcourt title after winning in Tel Aviv last week.

“(In the) second set I think I started to read his serve better and just started swinging through the court more,” Djokovic said. “Botic is a quality tennis player. When he has time, he can hurt you, so I tried to take away that time from him and I’m very pleased with the way I played, particularly in the second.”

Djokovic will next face Karen Khachanov, who rallied to beat Marin Cilic 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. If the 21-time Grand Slam champion gets past that one, he could come up against fellow former No. 1 Daniil Medvedev. The second-seeded Russian beat Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 6-3, 6-2 to move one match away from a potential rematch of last year’s U.S. Open final, when Medvedev beat Djokovic to deny his attempt at a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Medvedev will first have to beat Roberto Bautista Agut, who advanced Wednesday.