Tennis: Stephens falls to inspired Cibulkova in Beijing

Cibulkova hits a return during her match against Sloane Stephens of the US.
Cibulkova hits a return during her match against Sloane Stephens of the US.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (REUTERS) - Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova rallied from a set down to defeat former US Open champion Sloane Stephens 4-6 6-2 6-3 and reach the quarter-finals of the China Open on Wednesday (Oct 3).

An error-prone Cibulkova allowed American Stephens to race into a one set lead before clawing her way back. Having dragged the match into a decider, Cibulkova found her range to close out victory in under two hours.

Cibulkova's first win over Stephens in three years, following defeats in Acapulco and at last year's US Open, earned her a last eight clash with Anastasija Sevastova.

The Latvian advanced with a comfortable 6-3 6-2 victory over Croatia's Donna Vekic.

Former world number one Karolina Pliskova cruised past Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 6-3 6-4 in a second round clash to set up a meeting with China's Wang Qiang.

Wang won the last meeting between the two players, at last week's Wuhan Open.

Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki hardly broke sweat as she felled Croatia's Petra Martic 7-5 6-3.

Up next for Wozniacki is a clash with Estonia's Anett Kontaveit, who has beaten the 28-year-old Dane twice in their previous three matches.

Local hope Zhang Shuai beat Hungary's Timea Babos 6-1 6-2 and faces Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber next.