Tennis: Rybakina marches on in Miami, Pegula progresses

Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan playing a forehand during the fourth round match at the Miami Open in Hard Rock Stadium. PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI – Elena Rybakina extended her winning streak to 11 matches as she booked her place in the Miami Open quarter-finals with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Belgium’s Elise Mertens on Monday.

Rybakina is looking to complete the “Sunshine Double” after her triumph in Indian Wells but she was far from euphoric after her victory.

“Physically I’m not the freshest, but I’m happy that I’m managing and finding my way. To be in a quarter-final is great and hopefully I’m going to play better,” she said.

The Kazakh allowed Mertens to break in the sixth game of the first set but then two double faults from the Belgian allowed Rybakina to swiftly break back and then she struck again to take the opening set.

The Wimbledon champion broke early in the second set and never looked back and she will now face Italian Martina Trevisan in the quarters.

Trevisan beat former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-3.

“It’s a tricky one, she’s lefty so I need to adjust and it’s going to be a tough match since we never played each other. I’ll try to recover and be more fresh physically,” Rybakina said.

All 16 survivors in the tournament were in action on “Manic Monday” at Hard Rock Stadium where the quarter-final line-up will be set.

American Jessica Pegula looked comfortable and in command of her game as she beat Poland’s Magda Linette 6-1, 7-5.

World No. 3 Pegula got off to a flying start – she struck seven winners in the opening nine minutes and won the first three games. With only 19 minutes on the clock she was 5-0 up.

The second set was a different story though with Linette grabbing a 5-2 lead. However, she twice let set point slip on her serve and Pegula went on to win the final five games to secure victory.

Pegula had lamented her slow starts at Indian Wells but said her rapid-fire opening to matches in Miami had not been part of any strategy.

“It wasn’t something I was really thinking about. I think it just has been happening that way, which is nice,” she said.

“It was kind of a weird match. I had strings of games where I was playing really well, then (went) a little bit off. For the most part I was able o string together good games, so that’s always a good sign.”

The American will face Anastasia Potapova after the Russian beat China’s Zheng Qinwen 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) to continue her impressive run.

Romanian Sorana Cirstea followed up her quarter-final at Indian Wells by securing another last eight appearance thanks to a 7-6 (7-3), 6-4, win over Czech Marketa Vondrousova. AFP

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