Sydney PHOTOS: Kerber reaches quarterfinals, Kvitova & Stephens win openers

Wilson Blade v7 tennis racquet

Defending champion and second seed Angelique Kerber reached the quarterfinals of the Sydney International on Tuesday, withstanding big pressure in the first set against Camila Giorgi and then recovering from an early deficit in the second set by winning the last six games for a 7-6(3) 6-2 victory. Seventh seed Kiki Bertens is also in the quarterfinals, but with a walkover, as Garbine Muguruza withdrew due to a gastrointestinal illness.

Other Tuesday’s matches were first-rounders. Fourth seed Sloane Stephens defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova 0-6 7-6(3) 7-6(3) (what a scoreline!), fifth seed Petra Kvitova took out fresh Shenzhen Open champion Aryna Sabalenka 6-1 7-5 (probably doing the Belarusian a favor, as now she has more time to prepare for the Australian Open), qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich ousted eighth seed Daria Kasatkina 6-1 6-4, qualifier Priscilla Hon beat tennis mom Tatjana Maria 6-3 7-6(4), and Hsieh Su-wei defeated qualifier Danielle Collins with a similar score 7-6(4) 6-3.

Last year’s runner-up Ashleigh Barty eliminated Grand Slam champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 6-3, setting up a second-round meeting with world No.1 Simona Halep, who will be testing the progress of her back injury healing process.

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