Tennis: Venus eliminates title holder Konta, while Stephens downs Muguruza as seeds tumble in Miami

Venus Williams of the US waving to the crowd after her match against Johanna Konta of Britain on day seven of the Miami Open at Tennis Centre at Crandon Park. Williams won 5-7, 6-1, 6-2.
Venus Williams of the US waving to the crowd after her match against Johanna Konta of Britain on day seven of the Miami Open at Tennis Centre at Crandon Park. Williams won 5-7, 6-1, 6-2.PHOTO: USA TODAY SPORTS
Sloane Stephens of the US in action against Garbine Muguruza of Spain during a fourth round match at the Miami Open tennis tournament on Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, US, on March 26, 2018.
Sloane Stephens of the US in action against Garbine Muguruza of Spain during a fourth round match at the Miami Open tennis tournament on Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, US, on March 26, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MIAMI (REUTERS, AFP) - Venus Williams upended defending champion Johanna Konta 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 on Monday (March 26) to reach the Miami Open quarter-finals, while a dominant Victoria Azarenka also advanced with a straightforward win over Agnieszka Radwanska.

And Sloane Stephens powered past world No. 3 Garbine Muguruza, as the seeds continued to fall.

Three-time champion Williams stormed back from an early deficit to cruise past the British 11th seed, who needed several bouts of treatment on her lower back throughout a match that lasted two hours and 19 minutes.

Perhaps more impressive was that Williams, who turns 38 in June, was able to look so in control despite playing a day after spending nearly three hours on the court for her third-round win over Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens.

"The first set was definitely all her, and she came up with some amazing shots to break me at 5-all," she told reporters. "There was not much I could do there, except hope I could keep up in the second and third sets."

Former world No. 1 Azarenka, in only her second event after an eight-month absence because of a custody dispute involving her son, also looked sharp throughout her 6-2, 6-2 win over 30th-seeded Pole Radwanska.

The Belarusian, competing as a wild card, won 79 per cent of her first service points and needed only 82 minutes to prevail in a clash between former Miami champions.

Up next for the 28-year-old is Czech fifth seed Karolina Pliskova, who advanced to the last eight after Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan was forced to retire injured while trailing 6-2, 2-1.

"(Pliskova) is an amazing player, a top 10 player," Azarenka said. "For me, it's a challenge to see how I can approach that and how I can progress from that match. It's perfect. I wouldn't ask for anything else."

Former world No. 1 Pliskova was efficient from the start and did not drop a point on her first serves in the entire match against Diyas, who took multiple medical time-outs and was visibly struggling with her movement.

US Open champion Stephens dominated Spain's reigning Wimbledon champion Muguruza to record a 6-3, 6-4 win and advance to the quarter-finals.

Stephens, the world No. 12, will face Germany's Angelique Kerber for a place in the semi-finals. Kerber, yet another ex-world No. 1 in the tournament, was made to sweat in her gruelling clash with China's Wang Yafan before prevailing 6-7 (1-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.

Muguruza had been the highest-ranked player left in the women's draw following the early exits of world No. 1 Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki in the earlier rounds.

Kerber's victory continues a remarkable run of results since the turn of the year. The world No. 10 has played six tournaments in 2018 and reached the quarter-finals or better in each event.