Woz­ni­acki into East­bourne last-eight, Bouchard in­jured

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY SCOTT WIL­LIAMS

Caro­line Woz­ni­acki reached the quar­ter-fi­nals of the East­bourne In­ter­na­tional on Wed­nes­day with a 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 6-1 win over fel­low for­mer cham­pion Svet­lana Kuznetsova.

But 2014 Wim­ble­don run­ner- up Eu­ge­nie Bouchard was fac­ing a fit­ness bat­tle ahead of the third Grand Slam event of the sea­son next week af­ter suf­fer­ing an event-end­ing ab­dom­i­nal strain.

The ex- ti­tle­hold­ers at Devon­shire Park (Woz­ni­acki, 2009 and Kuznetsova, 2004) were meet­ing for the 10th time, with sec­ond seed Woz­ni­acki now lead­ing the se­ries 6-4.

But the Dane lost her way in the open­ing set as she let a com­fort­able 5-2 lead slip.

Kuznetsova, a two-time Grand Slam win­ner, seized the ini­tia­tive, run­ning off five of six games to force a tiebreak af­ter an­nulling a Woz­ni­acki set point in the 12th game.

The Rus­sian then pre­vailed for the early lead af­ter seiz­ing six set points and con­vert­ing with an ace on her fourth.

“Ob­vi­ously you’re not too happy with your­self af­ter that,” said Woz­ni­acki.

“But you just have to get your­self to­gether and get back on the horse, as they say, and try to win the sec­ond set.

“On grass, los­ing a set be­ing up 5-1 is not ideal. She started play­ing bet­ter, she started re­turn­ing deeper and she upped her game. I had a set point I didn’t take.

“Then all of a sud­den I see my­self be­ing down in the tiebreaker. I don’t know what hap­pened.”

Woz­ni­acki mounted a fight­back in the sec­ond set and played care­fully so as not blow a 5-1 lead in the fi­nal set.

“I wanted to make sure that didn’t hap­pen again,” said the for­mer num­ber one, re­call­ing her first-set wob­ble.

“The only thing that re­ally mat­ters is to get the win.

Woz­ni­acki will play a quar­ter­fi­nal against tenth seed An­drea Petkovic af­ter the Ger­man de­feated CoCo Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-4.

Belinda Ben­cic reached her sec­ond grass-court quar­ter-fi­nal of the sum­mer, with the Swiss teenager ad­vanc­ing 6-4, 3-0 as Bouchard re­tired in­jured.

Bouchard, the sev­enth-seeded Cana­dian whose prospects for re­peat­ing her Wim­ble­don fi­nal of a year ago are look­ing ex­ceed­ingly dim, lasted 54 min­utes be­fore call­ing for the trainer to treat an ab­dom­i­nal in­jury.

The Cana­dian could now face a fit­ness race be­fore the Mon­day start at the All Eng­land Club.

But she vowed: “I’m go­ing to play (Wim­ble­don) no mat­ter what, even if I’m on one leg. I’ll take a few days off from serv­ing and give it a lit­tle break and see how it goes.”

Ben­cic will now face Bri­tain’s Jo­hanna Konta who put out Span­ish 14th seed Gar­bine Mugu­ruza 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

Bouchard reached three Grand Slam semi-fi­nals in 2014 but has now lost 11 of her last 13 matches in a slump dat­ing back to mid-March.

Ben­cic, mean­while, reached the fi­nal on grass in the Nether­lands 10 days ago, los­ing to Camila Giorgi.

She is play­ing East­bourne for a sec­ond year af­ter los­ing in the open­ing round in 2014.

In other re­sults, ninth seed Ag­nieszka Rad­wan­ska beat num­ber eight Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-1 and Rus­sian lucky loser Daria Gavrilova de­feated Ital­ian 13th seed Sara Er­rani 6-1, 5-7, 6-2.

Bul­gar­ian Tsve­tana Pironkova de­feated last year’s Aus­tralian Open fi­nal­ist Do­minika Cibulkova 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-1 while Amer­i­can Sloane Stephens knocked out Bri­ton Heather Wat­son 6-2, 6-3.

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