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Day five preview: Quarterfinal action

12 January 2017, by Leigh Rogers

It is quarterfinal day at the Hobart International and we’re serving up four interesting matches…

(1) Kiki Bertens v (Q) Elise Mertens

Head-to-head: First meeting

Competing as the top seed at a WTA event for the first time, world No.22 Kiki Bertens has made an impressive start with two comprehensive straight-set wins. Her next opponent is Belgian qualifier Elise Mertens, who is playing in just her second WTA-level quarterfinal. The world No.127 can’t be discounted through. The rising 21-year-old is yet to drop a set this week and recorded a career-best win over world No.42 Kristina Mladenovic in the first round. “I know her pretty well – I’ve never played her, but off the court we know each other good,” Bertens said of the match-up after her second round win yesterday. “I’ll have to play good, be a little bit more aggressive than today and hopefully I can get the win.”

> Bertens advances to quarterfinals

(Q) Jana Fett v (LL) Veronica Cepede Royg

Head-to-head: Fett leads 1-0
Last meeting: Fett won 6-4 3-6 6-4, Hobart International 2017, round three qualifying

For the second time this tournament, Croatian Jana Fett and Paraguayan Veronica Cepede Royg face each other. The pair played for a main draw spot in the final round of qualifying on Sunday. Despite losing the match, world No.129 Cepede Royg got into the draw as a lucky loser. She has made the most of her second chance, sensationally beating former world No.9 Andrea Petkovic in the second round. Now Fett and Cepede Royg play for a semifinal spot – unprecedented territory for both. The 20-year-old Fett is enjoying a dream debut in her first WTA main draw appearance and 24-year-old Cepede Royg is playing in only the third WTA quarterfinal of her career. “I think I have some chances,” No.340-ranked Fett said of the match-up. “I’ll try my best, play every point and try to win the tournament.”

Fett ends the run of Australian Cabrera
Cepede Royg upsets Petkovic to advance

(Q) Risa Ozaki v (3) Monica Niculescu

Head-to-head: First meeting

Third seed Monica Niculescu is into the Hobart International quarterfinals for the third time in her career – and her eyes are on a first semifinal berth. The Romanian has navigated a tough draw, overcoming former world No.1 Jelena Jankovic and former world No.13 Kirsten Flipkens in the opening two rounds. Next up for the world No.40 is Japanese qualifier Risa Ozaki, the world No.100 who stunned French Open finalist Lucie Safarova in the second round yesterday. Niculescu, who won her third WTA title at the end of 2016, has been serving exceptionally well this week, landing 90 per cent of first serves in her second round win. “I cannot say that my serve is my strength but I’m happy that I can play this tennis and that I’m feeling good,” Niculescu said of her form.

Ozaki stuns Safarova
> Niculescu moving on

Lesia Tsurenko v Shelby Rogers

Head-to-head: Tsurenko leads 2-0
Last meeting: Tsurenko won 6-2 6-0, Monterrey 2015, first round

Neither Tsurenko or Rogers have lost a set on their march to the Hobart International quarterfinals and both have eliminated seeded players in the process. Tsurenko, the world No.61 from Ukraine, enters today’s match with an unbeaten record against her No.57-ranked American opponent and Rogers knows she has a big challenge ahead of her. “She’s beaten a lot of impressive players,” Rogers said. “She’s solid, there’s no real holes in her game so I definitely have to beat her and bring my A-game.”

> Tsurenko beats Larsson
> Rogers powers past Arruabarrena 
> Finish this sentence… Lesia Tsurenko

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