There were no shocks at the Stuttgart Open on Tuesday as Marin Cilic and both seeds advanced.

The grass-court swing got under way with four main-draw matches but little drama in Germany.

One-time Wimbledon finalist Cilic staved off the only two break points he faced against wildcard Rudolf Molleker and seized all five opportunities of his own.

A 7-5 6-3 win was enough to set up a second-round meeting with fifth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili, who beat Dustin Brown in the top half of the draw.

The defeated pair were the only home hopefuls in action, while number six seed Ugo Humbert and Lloyd Harris each also progressed.

Ash Barty came from a set down for the third time this week as the world number one continued a superb 2021 with victory at the Stuttgart Open.

Barty overcame Aryna Sabalenka 3-6 6-0 6-3 to lift an 11th career title and her third of the season after successes at the Miami Open and the Yarra Valley Classic in Melbourne.

It proved to be another comeback triumph against a top-10 opponent for Barty, who saw off Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina in the quarter and semi-finals respectively.

Sabalenka was ready to seize upon another sluggish Barty start and forced three break points at 3-2 in the opener.

The Australian was able to hang on that time, but Sabalenka fashioned two more and a botched Barty drop shot meant it was fifth time lucky.

The rapid progress of set two suggested Barty had merely been warming up, snaffling her third break point at 1-0 and dispatching a magnificent forehand cross-court winner to surge 4-0 ahead.

A bagel felt inevitable from that point and, after a 20-minute second set, Sabalenka was sinking without a trace when she slipped 3-0 behind in the decider.

The fifth seed broke back before being undermined by an untimely double fault at 3-2 – one of 39 unforced errors – and Barty faced down three break points in the following game.

A superb display, featuring 26 winners and five break points converted from 12 opportunities, concluded when Barty wrapped things up on her second match point.

Ash Barty will meet Aryna Sabalenka in the Stuttgart Open final after Simona Halep's quest to win the tournament for the first time fell short.

World number three Halep had claimed straight-set wins over Ekaterina Alexandrova and Marketa Vondrousova en route to the semi-finals, but met her match in the form of Belarusian Sabalenka, who triumphed 6-3 6-2.

A nine-time singles champion, Sabalenka made it into a 14th career final without conceding a single break, as she managed to keep Romanian Halep at arm's length.

Standing between Sabalenka and a 10th singles title is world number one Barty who, on her 25th birthday, came from behind to defeat Elina Svitolina 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.

Making her tournament debut in Stuttgart, Barty had overcome Laura Siegemund and Karolina Pliskova, but found herself at 5-4 down in the second set, with Svitolina serving for the match.

The fourth seed failed to take her chance, with Barty breaking and subsequently biting back in the tie-break, before carrying the momentum into the decider to claim a third straight win over Svitolina.

Top seed Elise Mertens made it to her second Istanbul Open as she saw off her doubles partner and birthday girl Veronika Kudermetova 6-1 6-4.

It means Mertens will be playing in two finals on Sunday, as she pairs up with Kudermetova again in the doubles showdown against Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya.

Mertens' win ended Charleston champion Kudermetova's nine-match winning streak, and set up a final against the unseeded Sorana Cirstea, who defeated Marta Kostyuk 6-4 6-4.

World number one Ash Barty survived a scare to reach the semi-finals of the Stuttgart Open with a 2-6 6-1 7-5 win over Karolina Pliskova.

The Australian started slowly in the quarter-final of the WTA 500 tournament on Friday as Pliskova broke her serve twice in taking the first set, before Barty hit back with three breaks of her own to force a decider.

Barty was two points away from losing on five occasions as world number nine Pliskova served for the match at 5-4 in the final set.

But she broke the Czech's resolve eventually, sealing victory when Pliskova hit the ball long after a baseline rally.

The win was Barty's eighth consecutive victory over a top-10 opponent and she said in a media conference afterwards that facing top players in the world brings the best out of her.

"When you come up against top-10 opponents, you have to go to that level above to be able to compete. They force you to bring your best," Barty said.

"With a lot of the girls in the top 10, we've had plenty of matches that have gone either way, different experiences, so each time I love that challenge of testing myself against the best."

Barty will face Elina Svitolina in the semi-finals after she saved two match points to claim a 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-2 victory over Petra Kvitova.

In the other half of the draw, Simona Halep breezed through to the semi-finals with a 6-1 6-4 win over Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Halep clinically closed out the first set, and although Alexandrova showed more fight in the second, the world number three did not allow her a route back into the match.

Halep will face Aryna Sabalenka following the Belarusian's 7-5 4-6 6-1 win over Anett Kontaveit.

In the Istanbul Cup, top seed Elise Mertens secured her place in the semi-finals with a 6-4 6-4 win over Katerina Siniakova.

Mertens will face Veronika Kudermetova who fought back from a set down to clinch a 2-6 6-3 6-3 win over Ana Bogdan.

The other semi-final will see Sorana Cirstea play Marta Kostyuk. Cirstea progressed after Fiona Ferro, trailing 6-4, retired through injury while Kostyuk beat Ana Konjuh 7-5 4-6 6-3.

Simona Halep started her clay-court season in style at the Stuttgart Open as she saw off Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets on Thursday.

Second seed Halep is hunting her first appearance in a Stuttgart final, and she looked in fine form as she took just 56 minutes to dismiss Vondrousova 6-1 6-3.

Vondrousova – the 2019 French Open runner up – had won both of her previous meetings with Halep, but on this occasion she was no match for the world number three, who has won every major European clay-court tournament other than Stuttgart.

"Starting the clay-court season makes me very happy and motivated, extra motivated actually," Halep said in a post-match news conference.

"I missed playing matches. I had a few weeks without an official match and it was kind of tough when I started the match, but my mind was strong enough just to give focus on what I have to play. So, I did it great and today it was a great match.

"I was a little bit nervous before the match because I played twice against her and she beat me every time.

"It is important for my mind, for my game, because the clay-court season is going to be very tough. Now this match gave me confidence that my level is high, and if I keep doing the same thing, I will be good."

Facing Halep in the quarter-finals will be Ekaterina Alexandrova, who defeated world number 12 Belinda Bencic, and joining them in the final eight is Elina Svitolina, who defeated Angelique Kerber 7-6 (7-4) 6-3.

Two-time Stuttgart champion Kerber and Svitolina had faced off 13 times before Thursday's contest, and the Ukrainian is now 9-5 up in that head-to-head tussle.

While Aryna Sabalenka also progressed, Karolina Pliskova teed up a clash with top seed Ash Barty by coming from behind to beat Jelena Ostapenko 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 6-3.

At the Istanbul Open, top seed Elise Mertens also needed three sets to forge a path into the last night.

Mertens had to show her mettle in a contest which lasted over two hours, but she eventually got the better of Viktorija Golubic 6-4 4-6 6-1.

Veronika Kudermetova also made the last eight, as did Ana Bogdan, who fended off Barbora Kreijcova, while Fiona Ferro defeated Vera Zvonareva.

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