Petra Kvitova saw off the talented Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez to reach her first French Open fourth-round match since 2015, while fourth seed Sofia Kenin was in fine form against Irina Bara.

Kvitova, a semi-finalist at Roland Garros in 2012, had only gone as far as the third round in Paris in the previous four years and did not compete in the competition in 2019.

But she showed fight and gusto to battle back from a major deficit in the first set and eventually see off Fernandez, who only turned 18 last month.

Kenin was given a lot less to worry about against her Romanian opponent, barely breaking a sweat as she swept past Bara with consummate ease and brought out the party tricks.

KVITOVA RISES TO THE CHALLENGE

A major shock appeared to be on the cards for Fernandez for a while in this contest, as the youngster found herself 5-1 to the good in the opening set.

She even had two set points, but Fernandez – the junior champion at Roland Garros just last year – could not quite hold her nerve.

Kvitova rattled off nine games in succession to impressively rise to the occasion, showing immense willpower and focus to recover from such a deficit and seal the first set.

After consecutive breaks on her serve at the start of the second, Fernandez did hit back with one of her own as she too showed some spirit – but it was too little, too late, as the experienced two-time Wimbledon champion powered to victory with 32 winners to 19.

The challenge she faced was not lost on Kvitova, as she said: "I definitely think that she is really playing a great game. She's a great mover. She catches a lot of balls and if she has a chance, she's really going for it.

"It was really challenging today. I'm really happy I found a way even though it wasn't easy."

Her reward is a meeting with Zhang Shuai, who saw off France's Clara Burel 7-6 (7-2) 7-5.

FLYING KENIN TRIES THE TRICKS

Kenin will take some stopping on this form. The fourth seed was imperious against Bara, winning 6-2 6-0 in one hour and 12 minutes.

The Australian Open champion rattled off 34 winners and achieved an in-match double bagel, winning 12 games on the spin after falling behind to an early break.

"I feel like I'm playing well at the slams," she said. "Obviously I feel like I should get deep in a tournament. I'm a bit hard on myself. It's a little bit different mindset now coming into the slams.

"Towards the end I just started getting a little bit careless. I started like doing drop shots towards the end, like just for fun. I was like, 'why not? Let's just do drop shots'. But then she obviously picked up her game."

Next up for Kenin is Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro, who beat Patricia Maria Tig 7-6 (9-7) 4-6 6-0.

 

JABEUR BLAZING A TRAIL AS MUGURUZA CRASHES AND BURNS

Three years after becoming the first Arab woman to reach the third round at a grand slam, Jabeur went one better by booking her place in the last 16.

The Tunisian overcame eighth seed Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (9-7) 2-6 6-3 out on court 14.

Jabeur took the opener after squandering three set points on serve but lost 15 points in a row at the start of the second, admitting afterwards that keeping calm and carrying on saw her through.

"She was screaming, fighting every point... in some very important points, especially when she got back at 6-6," Jabeur said. "For me, I wanted to stay calm because I had no reason to be angry. I think that helped me a lot today."

Danielle Collins awaits in the next round for Jabeur after the unseeded American produced a shock by eliminating 11th seed and 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza.

In the final match of the day, Muguruza was unable to sustain the level she showed after fighting back from a set down, as Collins progressed 7-5 2-6 6-4 despite finding herself trailing by two breaks in the decider.

Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin came from a set down to beat Ana Bogdan at the French Open on Thursday, but there was a shock in store for Karolina Pliskova.

While Kenin recovered from a tough start to reach round three, second seed Pliskova crashed out at the hands of 2017 Roland Garros winner Jelena Ostapenko.

There was little sign of further upsets in the day's second-round action, however, with Kenin joined in the next stage by Petra Kvitova, Aryna Sabalenka and Garbine Muguruza.
 

NO EMOTION FROM KENIN

Kenin – the fourth seed at Roland Garros – won nine of the closing 11 games to overcome Bogdan in a little under two hours on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

The pair previously met in 2018 in the final round of qualifying for the Rogers Cup. Kenin has gone from strength to strength since then but found herself behind after dropping serve twice in the first set.

The world number six bounced back in style, however, winning six break points in total as she went on to claim victory in the decider.

"During the match I just try to put the emotions aside," Kenin said in a post-match news conference. "I don't have time to think about my emotions. I have to play one point at a time.

"These two matches have been quite tough. I felt like I couldn't find my rhythm in both of them and found a way at the end, so I'll take it."

Kenin will go up against another Romanian in round three in the form of qualifier Irina Bara, with Alison Van Uytvanck having retired hurt.
 

SABALENKA IN FINE FORM

Sabalenka moved into the third round of the French Open for the first time as the number eight seed secured a 7-6 (8-6) 6-0 win over Daria Kasatkina.

Sabalenka had lost her only previous meeting with the world number 71 at the 2019 China Open.

However, despite being forced to go a to a tie-break in the opener, Sabalenka made her quality count as she converted three out of five break points in the second set.

Ons Jabeur is next up for the world number 12, who has now won six of her seven matches on clay in 2020.

Sabalenka said: "I feel a little bit different [this year]. I'm not focusing about the clay court, because before I was thinking a lot, 'Oh, it's a clay court, it's not my surface and I have so much trouble on it'.

"But for now, I feel like it's okay. I can play on it. I feel the game and I have enough shots to play here actually to make someone work."


MUGURUZA'S MAJOR HOPES

Muguruza garnered a reputation as a clay-court specialist as she won her first major in France in 2016 and, having lost in the Australian Open final this year, she is targeting further success.

"[A grand slam is about] putting a lot of things together," she said after beating Kristyna Pliskova.

"It's a long tournament and some matches are [about] survival. Some matches you play better, some worse. It's a little bit of a journey to play that many matches in a long tournament.

"Do I believe I have what it takes? I believe so, because I have the certainty that I did it already."

Serena Williams is ready to go the distance with Tsvetana Pironkova again at a grand slam after clearing the first hurdle in her bid for French Open glory.

Williams, who turned 39 on Saturday, took her time to warm up on a cool Monday in Paris, Kristie Ahn making life particularly difficult for the sixth seed in a well-contested opening set.

The American duo had also met in the opening round of the US Open and - as was the case in New York - the favourite eventually prevailed in straight sets,meaning a clash with another familiar foe next.

Pironkova threatened to cause an upset when they did battle in the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows earlier this month, though faded down the stretch to lose in three.

Still, Williams - chasing a 24th slam to move level with Margaret Court's record - expects another tough test from the Bulgarian, who defeated Andrea Petkovic 6-3 6-3.

"She's playing well, but I am too. I'm ready to play her. She'll be ready to play me," the three-time French Open champion said in her post-match press conference. 

"It will be a long match, she will get a lot of balls back, but so am I. I'll be ready."

Williams revealed she was a little flat against Ahn in a first set that went to a tie break, before a more positive approach allowed her to breeze through the second without dropping a game.

"The biggest difference was just confidence. I just need to play with more confidence, like I'm Serena," she said. "So that was it. I just started playing like that. And I love the clay and I started playing like it, opening the court and moving and sliding."

SUCCESS FOR SEEDS ON DAY TWO

Three other top-10 seeds at the tournament avoided early exits. Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens and Petra Kvitova prevailing, though none of the trio had it all their own way.

Bertens was in danger of going home early when the fifth seed fell a set behind but rallied impressively to see off Katarina Zavatska 2-6 6-2 6-0.

Seventh seed Kvitova overcame Oceane Dodin 6-3 7-5, though admitted afterwards her opponent had made her work for the win.

"You know, she didn't make that many mistakes and it was really a tough one," Kvitova - a semi-finalist at Roland Garros in 2012 - told the media. "I just really tried to stay there mentally strong and wait for the chance to break her and serve well."

Meanwhile, Svitolina, the third seed, triumphed 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 against Russian Varvara Gracheva.

KEYS LOST IN FRENCH CAPITAL, KERBER CRASHES OUT

Madison Keys, the 12th seed, was on the wrong end of an upset, the American beaten in straight sets by Zhang Shuai.

Prior to that match on the same court, 15th seed Marketa Vondrousova was crushed by Iga Swiatek of Poland, winning just three games in a surprisingly lopsided contest that spanned just 63 minutes.

Angelique Kerber also suffered a shock exit, the three-time major winner going down 6-3 6-3 to world number 102 Kaja Juvan.

Karolina Muchova was also dumped out, going down to Christina McHale, but 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza avoided a similar fate against Tamara Zidansek, overcoming a one-set deficit to eventually prevail 5-7 6-4 8-6.

World number two Simona Halep extended her winning streak to 13 matches as she reached the final to delight the fans in attendance at the Internazionali d'Italia. 

Spectators were allowed at a WTA Tour event for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic suspended competitions, the Rome crowd witnessing Halep defeat Garbine Muguruza 6-3 4-6 6-4 in two hours and 14 minutes. 

Muguruza was the last woman to beat Halep, in the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January, but she was unable to produce a repeat in Italy, where the Romanian will be hoping to add to the recent titles she won in Abu Dhabi and Prague either side of the break. 

Halep, a two-time runner-up at this tournament, was 5-1 up in the third set but was pegged back to 5-4, only for Muguruza to produce back-to-back double faults that handed her opponent the victory.

"The victory is really important against Muguruza, always," Halep said afterwards.

"She's a very, very difficult player and a good player. It's always a good vibe and feeling when I win against her.

"I feel confident now that I was able to win this match."

Next up for Halep is Karolina Pliskova after the defending champion overcame Marketa Vondrousova 6-2 6-4.

Pliskova raced into a one-set lead against her fellow Czech, who was the runner-up at Roland Garros last year, but dropped her serve at the start of the second.

Vondrousova was unable to consolidate and paid the price for failing to stay in the rallies with the former world number one in the closing stages of a match that lasted one hour and 22 minutes. 

US Open finalist Victoria Azarenka lost a three-set thriller to Garbine Muguruza in the quarter-finals of the Internazionali d'Italia to set up a meeting with top seed Simona Halep. 

Muguruza beat her fellow former world number one 3-6 6-3 6-4 after two hours and 19 minutes, having been one point away from falling 5-3 down in an entertaining decider at Foro Italico. 

The 2016 French Open winner managed to hold her serve on that occasion, then broke to love in the next game before going on to seal the match at the third attempt. 

"I think it was a tough match. I knew it was going to be a tough match. She's a good player, she's playing good, she's with a lot of confidence," said Muguruza. 

"I knew it was going to be a tough battle. I was ready for it. I stood behind her and was waiting for my opportunities. She was playing great at the beginning. She took the first set. I kept myself together and said, 'Okay, let's start another battle in the second set'."

Next up for Muguruza is two-time Rome finalist Halep, who saw Yulia Putintseva retire from their quarter-final meeting due to a lower back injury. 

After dropping her serve to fall 6-2 2-0 down to the world number two in 47 minutes, Putintseva, who played back-to-back three-set matches in the previous two rounds, pulled out of the match. 

Halep said of Muguruza: "Every time I played well against her, [I was] as much as possible aggressive. If I play my best game and if I feel great physically on court, I have a big chance to win the match. But every time is different, because she's playing so hard. 

"You don't really know what to expect. It's tough every time. So I don't plan for a specific match, because you never know on court."

Two-time Internazionali d'Italia champion Elina Svitolina was comprehensively beaten 6-3 6-0 by Marketa Vondrousova, who was the runner-up at last year's French Open. 

Standing between Vondrousova and her first final appearance since Roland Garros last year is reigning champion Karolina Pliskova. 

Second seed Pliskova overcame Elise Mertens 6-3 3-6 6-0 as she continued to impress after initially struggling when the WTA Tour returned in August.

Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova cruised into the last eight at the Internazionali d'Italia on Friday, while Garbine Muguruza impressed again.

Tournament favourite Halep eventually looked comfortable in her 7-5 6-4 against Dayana Yastremska, but the Romanian had to fight back from a break down in the opening set as she was put on the back foot.

Halep slid 3-0 down in the opener, but she produced an admirable response when winning 12 of the following 13 points as she levelled up.

Another break from 5-5 allowed Halep to take charge, and from there she rarely looked in trouble, remaining in the ascendancy early in the second as she went 3-0 up, ultimately seeing out the win professionally despite Yastremska giving herself a chance with a break of her own.

"It was not easy against her because you don't really have the rhythm. She hits it very strong and it's tough to return her balls," Halep said, highlighting the need to get her head straight after the early wobble.

"After I lost the first three games, I just had to focus a little bit better and stop giving her the balls that she likes.

"I tried to change it up a little bit, make her move, [hit shots] a little bit high. I think during the match I found some solutions that were good to win.

"Big picture, I think it was a great match and gives me confidence that even in these conditions with a big hitter that I could win in two sets."

Awaiting Halep is a meeting with Yulia Putintseva, who fought back from a set down against fellow Russia-born Kazakh Elena Rybakina to edge an absorbing contest 4-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-2.

Second seed and defending champion Pliskova came through fairly comfortably against Anna Blinkova 6-4 6-3, with the Czech next going up against Elise Mertens, who saw off Danka Kovinic in similarly routine fashion with a 6-4 6-4 victory.

Another tantalising quarter-final will be contested between Victoria Azarenka and Garbine Muguruza. Spaniard Muguruza caught the eye as she beat seventh seed Johanna Konta 6-4 6-1, not dropping serve once against her British opponent.

Azarenka, who incredibly crushed Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin without dropping a game on Thursday, should be fresh for the quarter-final as her last-16 opponent Daria Kasatkina retired due to an ankle injury at 6-6 in the first set of their contest.

Victoria Azarenka produced a memorable performance as she destroyed Sofia Kenin 6-0 6-0 at the Internazionali d'Italia on Thursday.

Azarenka, beaten in the US Open final less than a week ago, has transitioned to the clay courts in impressive fashion after beating Venus Williams and now, more impressively, Kenin.

The Australian Open champion had no answer to Azarenka's ruthlessness and near-perfection out on court in Rome, with the Belarusian claiming victory in just an hour and one minute.

Azarenka faced no break points in the entire match and made only one unforced error as she emphatically took the first set against a player who was her US Open doubles partner.

Kenin improved in the second set, forcing some long games – particularly the second, which was at deuce on five different occasions.

But Azarenka – who faces Russian Daria Kasatkina in the last 16 – simply had too much for the American and cruised to a sensational victory over the third seed,

"I think my consistency was the key to the scoreline," Azarenka told reporters. "I feel like I played really smart tennis today: I was able to use a lot of court; I was able to use a lot of different pace.

"So, I'm very happy with that. But the key was definitely being able to maintain the level that I started with."

She added, according to the WTA Tour website: "I was really more focused on what I can do today on the court, than on what she does well. So, I think that was the difference, I was able to insist on my level and insist on my pace."

Earlier, Garbine Muguruza managed to outlast American sensation Coco Gauff 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 6-3 in an absorbing contest.

Gauff, 16, appeared to be in control of the decider after an early break of serve.

But three double faults in the following game gifted Spaniard Muguruza an instant break in return, giving her the initiative to go on and seal victory.

Johanna Konta saw off Irina-Camelia Begu in fine fashion, the seventh-seeded Briton emerging 6-0 6-4, but Kiki Bertens and Petra Martic were not so impressive.

Bertens, seeded fifth, fell 6-4 6-4 to Polona Hercog, while eighth seed Martic succumbed to Yulia Putintseva in a gruelling three-hour contest, the latter eventually winning 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-4.

Marketa Vondrousova and Svetlana Kuznetsova were among the other victors on the day.

Garbine Muguruza refused to let the rain in Rome disrupt her march to victory over Sloane Stephens.

The Spaniard prevailed 6-3 6-3 in a battle between two grand slam winners to reach the second round of the Internazionali d'Italia.

But the ninth seed had to wait out a downpour she had not seen coming before she could seal the win and a meeting with Coco Gauff.

"It was unexpected, because I checked the weather and it seemed like it was okay," she said of the interruption, which delayed the start of the second set by an hour.

"But I just had to adapt. I knew I had a tough match against Sloane, she's also a great player on clay.

"I'm just happy with my performance, since this is the third match I am able to play in a long time."

There was a shock exit for three-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber as she fell to 6-3 6-1 loss against Katerina Siniakova.

Gauff defeated Ons Jabeur 6-4 6-3 to progress, with the 16-year-old joined in the next round by 12th seed by Marketa Vondrousova following her three-set triumph over Misaki Doi.

Elsewhere in the draw, 14th seed Anett Kontaveit overcame Caroline Garcia 6-3 7-6 (7-1), while two-time slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova came from a set down to beat Bernarda Pera.

Serena Williams showed signs of improvement en route to the US Open third round as Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin took down Leylah Fernandez.

Former world number one and third seed Williams prevailed in a tricky test against Margarita Gasparyan in straight sets in New York on Thursday.

Countrywoman and second seed Kenin contained Canadian teenager Fernandez behind closed doors at Flushing Meadows.

It was not good news for 10th seed Muguruza, who was sent packing by unranked Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova.

 

SERENA WINS THROUGH

Williams continued her quest for a record-equalling 24th grand slam after defeating Russian Gasparyan 6-2 6-4 to set up a showdown with 2017 US Open winner Sloane Stephens.

The 38-year-old Williams hit 27 winners and just 16 unforced errors, an improvement on her numbers in the opening round, under the Arthur Ashe Stadium lights.

Williams, who has not won a slam since the 2017 Australian Open, will next meet Stephens after the American 26th seed eased past Olga Govortsova 6-2 6-2.

KENIN SEES OFF FERNANDEZ

Kenin advanced to the third round of her home slam for the fourth year in a row thanks to a 6-4 6-3 victory over Fernandez.

World number four Kenin did not face a break point in a contest lasting one hour, 21 minutes.

After firing 19 winners and three aces, Kenin will play Ons Jabeur – who took down Kaia Kanepi 7-6 (10-8) 6-0.

MUGURUZA STUNNED

Muguruza's US Open campaign came to an end in the second round, sensationally upstaged 7-5 6-3 by Pironkova, who is playing her first tournament since Wimbledon in 2017.

Australian Open runner-up and two-time slam champion Muguruza was serving for the first set when the Spaniard started to unravel.

Pironkova, who gave birth to a son during her time away from the WTA Tour, took control at the end of a tight first set and never looked back.

"I'm not going to hide, I didn't expect my first tournament to be so good and to play so well. It's welcome! That's why I came back, for these matches and these stages," Pironkova said after winning 93 per cent of her first serves.

 

AZARENKA ROLLS ON

Former world number one and two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka topped fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka 6-1 6-3.

A US Open finalist in 2012 and 2013, Azarenka is in fine form after winning the Western & Southern Open last week.

And Azarenka is now just one victory away from her first second-week appearance at Flushing Meadows in five years.

Meanwhile, seventh seed Madison Keys also progressed to the third round.

Shane Warne made an indelible mark on the Ashes on this day in 1993.

Ash Barty survived a back-and-forth encounter against the in-form Garbine Muguruza to set up a date with familiar foe Petra Kvitova, who ended Ons Jabeur's run at the Qatar Open.

World number one Barty needed three sets to see off Australian Open finalist Muguruza in Doha, while Kvitova won a pair of tie-breaks in her quarter-final with Jabeur. 

Veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova earned a share of tournament history with an upset win over fourth seed Belinda Bencic.

The Russian now faces Aryna Sabalenka, who came from behind to defeat Saisai Zheng in the day's opening match.


BARTY OUT TO CONTINUE KVITOVA RUN

Barty endured a second-set dip in her 6-1 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 beating of Muguruza, who has reached at least the last eight in each of her five tournaments in 2020.

The Australian, playing at her first event since reaching the semis of her home slam in Melbourne, did not face a single break point in the opening set but was met with a much sterner test in the second.

Barty raced into a 5-2 lead in the decider, though, and fought back from 40-15 in the final game to set up a showdown with Kvitova, who she has beaten in their previous four meetings - including a straight-sets win at the Australian Open.

Kvitova, the 2018 champion, edged to a 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-4) win over Jabeur, who has enjoyed a stellar year thus far and became the first Arab woman to reach a major quarter-final in Melbourne.


MILESTONE FOR KUZNETSOVA 

Kuznetsova was in devastating form against Bencic, hitting 39 winners and just 15 unforced errors in a 6-4 6-4 triumph.

A runner-up in 2004 and 2007, Kuznetsova now has 19 match wins in Doha, which ties the record held by retired former world number one Caroline Wozniacki.

"I have amazing memories," said Kuznetsova, who is in to her first Doha semi since 2007. 

"It was my first time when I beat Justine [Henin] here [in the 2004 semi-finals] and it was like I was a kid, I was 19. 

"I climbed from number 30-something to number 13 or number 14 and it was amazing. It was so long ago it was like another life, but it really happened to me - I didn't watch it in the movies."

Sabalenka will try to end Kuznetsova's run after a 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 defeat of Zheng.

Ons Jabeur continued her fine start to 2020 with the biggest win of her career as she stunned third seed Karolina Pliskova at the Qatar Open.

The Tunisian has surged to a career-high ranking of 44 having made history by reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in January.

What it is rapidly developing into a breakthrough year saw another high point on Wednesday as she emerged victorious from a gruelling three-set battle with third seed Pliskova.

Kiki Bertens was another to suffer a surprise loss as Zheng Saisai came from a set down to see off the seventh seed.

Belinda Bencic, Petra Kvitova and Aryna Sabalenka all progressed, while world number one Ashleigh Barty was one of two players to receive a walkover into the quarter-finals, where she will meet Garbine Muguruza.

JABEUR MAKES MORE HISTORY

It has already been an impressive year for Jabeur.

She added another achievement to an increasingly impressive CV by progressing to the last eight in Doha.

Having lost to Simona Halep in a third-set tie-break in Dubai, Jabeur made sure to finish the job against Pliskova, hitting 33 winners to prevail 6-4 3-6 6-3 in a thriller and knock out the 2017 champion.


ZHENG BATTLES BACK

Few would have predicted Bertens succumbing to Zheng considering she dropped just one set en route to the St. Petersburg Open title earlier this month.

There appeared little sign of a shock when Bertens took the first set, but Zheng superbly battled back to claim a 3-6 6-3 6-4 win after two hours and 10 minutes.

Eighth seed Kvitova came through a frenetic contest with Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 5-7 6-1, while Bencic and Sabalenka earned straight-sets victories over Yulia Putintseva and Maria Sakkari.

MUGURUZA SETS UP BARTY CLASH

Though she was unable to overcome Sofia Kenin in the Australian Open final, Muguruza has been a player revitalised in 2020.

A clash with rising star Dayana Yastremska presented a significant hurdle, but she cleared it in relatively routine fashion.

Despite hitting only two winners, Muguruza capitalised on 29 unforced errors from Yastremska as the two-time grand slam champion wrapped up a 6-2 6-4 success.

Barty, whose meeting with Elena Rybakina was cancelled after the Kazakh withdrew with an abductor strain, is next for Muguruza. Svetlana Kuznetsova, meanwhile, progressed as Amanda Anisimova pulled out because of illness.

Ash Barty swept into the last 16 of the Qatar Open on Tuesday with a straight-sets dismantling of Laura Siegemund.

In her first match since the Australian Open, world number one Barty triumphed 6-3 6-2 in her opening match at the WTA Premier event.

Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin endured another difficult day, though, losing to 19-year-old Dayana Yastremska, while defending champion Elise Mertens also bowed out.

Karolina Pliskova, Belinda Bencic and Petra Kvitova all advanced, while Melbourne runner-up Garbine Muguruza was in imperious form as she dispatched Ajla Tomljanovic for the loss of just three games.

There were also wins for Saisai Zheng over Vera Zvonareva, Ons Jabeur against Jennifer Brady, Maria Sakkari over Tereza Martincova and Svetlana Kuznetsova against Iga Swiatek.

BARTY BLASTS OUT OF THE BLOCKS

Playing for the first time since losing to Kenin in the Australian Open semi-finals, Barty produced a disciplined performance to beat Siegemund in 73 minutes.

Barty hit 19 winners to 16 unforced errors but admitted she lost focus at some key moments.

"Happy overall to be able to switch on when I really needed to. Disappointing to have a few lapses in concentration but also a credit to my opponent, she came up with some really good stuff in runs to be able to break me a few times," she said.

Barty will face Elena Rybakina next after she battled to beat Alison Van Uytvanck 5-7 6-2 7-6 (10-8).

KENIN WOES CONTINUE

Kenin has now lost three times since lifting the first grand slam singles title of the season, the American slumping to a 6-3 7-6 (7-4) loss to Yastremska.

"It's really frustrating," she said. "Obviously coming off of Melbourne where I felt I was playing the best tennis of my life coming down to playing, not the worst tennis, but not playing the tennis I want to be playing."

Yastremska will now meet Muguruza, who wasted little time in beating Tomljanovic 6-1 6-2.

 

PLISKOVA CHARGES ON AS SEEDS PROGRESS

Pliskova was beaten in the quarter-finals in Dubai by Rybakina but looks determined to go the distance in Doha, producing an accomplished performance to oust Bernarda Pera 6-3 6-0.

Fourth seed Bencic was given a tougher time by Veronika Kudermetova before claiming a 6-4 4-6 7-6 (7-4) win that took more than two and a half hours.

Aryna Sabalenka edged a tight encounter with Anett Kontaveit 7-5 2-6 7-5, while Kvitova ended the challenge of Carla Suarez Navarro 4-6 6-3 6-0.

Defending champion Mertens is out, though, falling to Yulia Putintseva 4-6 6-3 6-2.

Defending WTA Qatar Open champion Elise Mertens strode confidently into the second round with a straight-sets win over Wang Qiang.

The Belgian, seeded 16th in Doha, produced a dominant display to triumph 6-1 6-2 and set up a meeting with either Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova or Yulia Putintseva.

Australian Open runner-up Garbine Muguruza endured a much tougher outing at the WTA Premier 5 event than Mertens, requiring three sets to see off Daria Kasatkina.

The two-time grand slam champion prevailed 7-5 5-7 6-3 after two hours and 49 minutes, with Ajla Tomljanovic up next for the Spaniard.

Jelena Ostapenko, who won the French Open in 2017, was pushed all the way in a 7-5 2-6 7-5 victory over Jil Teichmann, while top seed Ash Barty learned that she will face Laura Siegemund following the German's defeat of Yaroslava Shvedova.

Elsewhere in the draw, Veronika Kudermetova dumped out Kristina Mladenovic despite losing the second set 6-0, Svetlana Kuznetsova ousted Cagla Buyukakcay, and Karolina Muchova was too strong for Magda Linette. 

Tomljanovic beat fellow Australian Priscilla Hon, and there were also wins for Bernarda Pera, Alison Van Uytvanck, Amanda Anisimova and Ons Jabeur.

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