Monday, 5 June, 2023

Sabalenka ends Andreeva adventure to reach Madrid quarters

World number two Aryna Sabalenka made light work of 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva on Monday with a 6-3, 6-1 win to reach the Madrid Open quarter-finals.

In the men's tournament world number three Daniil Medvedev beat his friend and Russian compatriot Alexander Shevchenko, while Frances Tiafoe and Cameron Norrie crashed out against underdogs.

Russian youngster Andreeva, a wildcard, became only the third 15-year-old to win a WTA 1000 main draw match when she beat 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez last week.

She went on to beat two top 20 players in Beatriz Haddad Maia and, on her 16th birthday, Magda Linette, but overcoming 2021 Madrid winner Sabalenka was a bridge too far.

"Of course I'm happy with the win, I wish I would have played at Madrid when I was 16," said Sabalenka.

"I think my first few games I was trying to adjust for her rhythm and her game, and then I kept trying to play my game, be aggressive and fight for every point."

Sabalenka broke Andreeva in the first game but the world number 194 immediately responded to get back on serve.

The Belarusian converted her second break point in the fifth game for a 3-2 lead after Andreeva double faulted, and again broke to clinch the first set 6-3.

Sabalenka, second seed in Madrid, won 67 percent of points in a convincing second set to reach the last eight.

The Australian Open champion will face Egyptian Mayar Sherif in the next round after she beat Elise Mertens 6-4, 0-6, 6-4 earlier Monday.

Sherif, 26, is the first Egyptian to reach a WTA 1000 quarter-final.

Third seed Jessica Pegula beat Italy's Martina Trevisan 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 and will face Veronika Kudermetova, who beat Daria Kasatkina in a tight all-Russian battle 7-5, 1-6, 7-2 (7/2).

Maria Sakkari beat home favourite Paula Badosa 6-4, 6-4 to set up a quarter-final clash with Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu.

- Medvedev through -

In the men's competition second seed Medvedev, 27, edged out his friend Shevchenko 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 to reach the fourth round.

Medvedev, who readily admits he struggles on clay, started slowly but showed his quality to win back-to-back matches in Madrid for the first time.

Shevchenko, 22, saved one match point but Medvedev triumphed with a forehand winner to reach the last 16, where he will face Aslan Karatsev, who beat Alex de Minaur 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.

"When you win 7-5 in the third, it's always mentally a brutal match, so I'm happy that I managed to win it," said 2021 US Open winner Medvedev.

Argentine player Pedro Cachin, ranked 67th, took out world number 11 Tiafoe with a 6-1, 7-6 (7/2) victory and will face lucky loser Jan-Lennard Struff in the next round.

Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Sebastian Baez 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 to progress, after needing three sets against Dominic Thiem in the previous round too.

"He made it very difficult for me. Honestly, it was demanding in a lot of ways. I had to bring the best out of my game," said the Greek world number five, runner-up at the Australian Open.

Tsitsipas saved set point in the first before claiming it, but Baez convincingly triumphed in the second.

The fourth seed wrapped up victory in the third with a serve and volley.

Tsitsipas faces Bernabe Zapata Miralles in the last 16 after the Spaniard defeated Roman Safiullin 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Tiafoe's countryman, US baseliner Taylor Fritz, saw off Cristian Garin and will meet Zhizhen Zhang, who surprisingly ousted Briton Norrie.

The world number 13 fell in three sets, with Zhang winning two tie-breaks to triumph 2-6, 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/2).