Angelique Kerber can become world No.1 if she wins the Western & Southern Open title and now she's through to the quarterfinals, just three wins away from making the top of the rankings for the first time in her career. In Thursday's third-round match, the German beat Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic 7-6(5) 6-4.
It was yet another tough encounter of the two, with the first seven games stretching over 40 minutes and including a number of breaks on both sides. As the set progressed, it was evident that Kerber had the edge, which materialized in the tiebreak. The second set was also a grinder, in which Strycova definitely succumbed to Kerber's pressure at 4-all, dropping serve and giving Kerber an opportunity to serve for the match in the following game.
Kerber's smart and consistent tennis defeated an in-form Strycova and her quarterfinal obstacle will be ninth seed Carla Suarez Navarro, who eliminated sixth seed Roberta Vinci 6-1 7-5.
Earlier in the day, third seed Simona Halep made her third straight quarterfinal in Cincinnati and recorded her 12th consecutive victory by defeating Daria Gavrilova 6-1 6-2. Halep's winners-to-unforced-errors differential was +4, while Gavrilova's was -12.