|Wang Qiang [Ccdi.gov.cn]|
Round three of action here on Wednesday at the ongoing Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open saw all of the remaining top-10 players crash out and China's No. 2 player Wang Qiang advancing to the quarterfinals.
The day started with last-year's runner-up Ashleigh Barty stunning world No. 3 Angelique Kerber in straight sets: 7-5, 6-1.
Kerber was shaky out of the gate, with the Australian breaking her first service. Kerber suffered five double faults on the way to losing the first set.
The second was not even much of a contest, with Barty firing two aces during the 30-minute affair and converting both of her break points to run up a comfortable lead that Kerber was unable to assail.
Barty goes on to face No. 28 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who stunned world No. 5 Petra Kvitova 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the following match on center court today.
Both players held serve early in the first, before a Pavlyuchenkova break that proved to be little more than an aberration, as Kivitova responded with two breaks of her own to take the set by breezing through the next four points.
The Czech showed signs of shaky shooting even in the set she took, committing five of her overall 10 double-faults in the opener.
Momentum quickly tilted toward the Russian as the match progressed, with Pavlyuchenkova and Kvitova trading breaks in the second before the former built up a comfortable lead that she never surrendered for the rest of the match.
The next match up saw Chinese wildcard entry Wang Qiang take out Australian No. 33 Daria Gavrilova in straight sets: 7-5, 6-2.
Wang and Gavrilova traded breaks in the first set fighting to 5-all before a Wang break allowed her to power past the Australian, who suffered five double-faults on the way to losing the set.
Pavlyuchenkova had five more double faults in the second, surrendering a two-set lead to Wang who displayed consistency and held serve to run away with the match.
"Well, it was a great match, a great performance," Wang said later. "I have more confidence in myself on court."
Wang goes on to face world No. 50 and 2016 Rio gold medalist Monica Puig, who stunned the crowd here with a 7-6, (12), 7-5 straight sets win over No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki.
Wozniacki surrendered a three-point lead in the first set, which went on for an hour and twenty minutes. Puig committed 11 unforced errors and it appeared as if Wozniacki would manage to keep the momentum on her side.
But things turned around quickly for the Puerto Rican, who ignited a full-court push and fired solid groundstrokes that began to find their mark half way through the first.
Puig managed to level the first set 6-all and force a tie break that looked as if it might have gone either way.
The second set gave spectators a serious case of deja vu, with Wozniaki surrendering an early two-point lead to Puig, whose full-court push helped her show considerable strength on return to take the set and match.
Puig conceded after the match that Wozniaki had fought hard, and said that there were places she thought she could have improved.
"I missed a lot of really easy balls. I missed a lot of key points in the match," Puig said. "Honestly, on the match points that I had, I thought she played really aggressive. She really took it to me."
"But...wherever I lost those points, [I] would go back and go: There's another point to play, still tennis left to be played," she added.
In other action, China's Zhang Shuai fell to Estonian Anett Kontaveit 6-4, 4-6, 6-1. Kontaveit goes on to face Katerina Sinakova who took out world No. 14 Garbine Muguruza 7-6 (3), 7-6 (1).
And American qualifier Sofia Kenin fell to Belarussian player Arnya Sablanka, 6-4, 2-6, 6-1. Sablenka goes on to face Dominica Cibulkova, who beat Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 7-6 (3).