In what was supposed to be a bounce back season for American Sloane Stephens, 2015 has not started exactly how the 21-year-old would have liked. After cruising in her first-round opener, she was eliminated in the second-round of the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand by fellow American Lauren Davis.
Davis fought back from a set down to upend her compatriot 1-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the second-round match. The 57th ranked player in the world notched five break points in her seven opportunities, and while the stat sheet looks relatively even between the two, Davis was much sharper in the final two sets which allowed her to pull away.
The win pushes Davis into the quarterfinals and into a matchup with Poland’s Urszala Radwanska. The younger sister of Agnieszka, Radwanska knocked off Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 to make her way into the final eight.
Stephens was the lone seeded player to lose in Auckland on Wednesday. Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki needed a second-set tiebreaker to finish off American Taylor Townsend. After cruising through the first set, the Dane outlasted Townsend in a second-set tiebreak to move on with a 6-1, 7-6(4) victory.
Up next for Wozniacki is Germany’s Julia Georges, who defeated Lucie Hradecka 6-3, 7-5 on Wednesday.
Venus Williams cruised her way into the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Japan’s Kurumi Nara. The third-seeded American broke her opponent six times and converted 74 percent of her first serves into points to roll to the straight set victory. She will meet Elena Vesnina of Russia in the quarters after Vesnina got past Croatia’s Ana Konjuh 6-3, 6-1.
The other quarterfinal in Auckland will feature seventh-seeded American Coco Vandeweghe and fourth-seeded Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova of Russia.
If you head northwest across the Tasman Sea, a number of the WTA’s top players were doing battle at the Brisbane International in Brisbane, Australia.
Second-seeded Ana Ivanovic notched a straight-set victory over Slovakia’s Jarmila Gajdosova 6-4, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals. Ivanovic saved all seven break points she faced and used an efficient serve to advance.
She will take on Kaia Kanepi of Estonia in the final eight after Kanepi knocked off American Madison Brengle 6-3, 7-6(3) on Wednesday.
Also on Wednesday, Spaniard Carla Suarez-Navarro made her way into the quarterfinals with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 win over Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. The seventh-seeded Suarez-Navarro draws a tough task in the quarters as she will meet the tournament’s top seed Maria Sharapova.
Simona Halep continued her winning ways at the Shenzhen Open in China. The top-seeded Romanian rolled past Russia’s Natalia Vikhlyantseva 6-2, 6-2 to make her way into the quarterfinals Wednesday. Halep notched five break points and saved five of her own to defeat Vikhlyantseva.
Halep, the third-ranked player in the world, faces a tough task in the quarters when she goes up against Serbian qualifier Aleksandra Krunic. The 21-year old came back from a set down to beat Slovakia’s Anna Schmiedlova 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-1 on Wednesday.