Quarterfinals field set at Volvo Car Open
DANIEL ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) —
Sloane Stephens' win Thursday night rounded out the quarterfinals field for this year's Volvo Car Open.
Stephens beat Aussie Daria Gavrilova in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3. She is the only American player left in the singles tournament. And she says it's her first time playing well in Charleston.
"I'm so excited. It's the first time I've had a good result here, so it's really exciting. And I love this tournament, so it makes it even better," she said.
Stephens joked in a post-match press conference that it took her six years to adjust to Charleston's green clay. She said there have been a couple stumbles over the past couple weeks, but nothing that made her think she wouldn't be playing well this week.
"There's something to be said for a girl with bounce back-ability," Stephens said.
Still, Stephens says she's not considering herself a favorite despite her 7-seed placement in the tournament. She says she's happy that she's had two quick matches and is still relatively rested.
Stephens will face off against another Daria in the tournament, Daria Kasatkina, who beat the 19-year-old American Louisa Chirico in straight sets, 6-0, 6-4. The first set was over in 23 minutes; the second lasted an hour.
Stephens and Kasatkina will face off in the second singles quarterfinal match of the day.
Angelique Kerber will face Irina Begu in the first afternoon match. Kerber, the defending champion, handled Kristina Kucova in straight sets.
Kerber said she was starting to feel a lot like she did last year when she won the tournament, that she was doing better about moving on the clay and sensing how the match was developing.
She said being recognized by the Charleston fans and having a lot of support on center court also helps.
"When I walk around in here, the people recognize me much more than last year in the first few days, but it feels good. I mean, I'm enjoying it and the people are so nice here," Kerber said.
Monica Puig, who beat 2014 champion Andrea Petkovic in the evening match on Wednesday, fell to Irini Begu 6-1, 2-6, 6-7 (4).
Begu will face the defending champ in the quarterfinals.
Then Yulia Putintseva played through three hours of tennis before beating Venus Williams 7-6 (5), 2-6, 6-4.
Venus looked to have solid control of the match after that, dominating the second set 6-2 as Putintseva grew visibly frustrated at the course of the match, at times slamming down her racket or kicking the center court clay.
But mobility and fresh legs -- Williams has her thigh wrapped for support -- help Putintseva move ahead in the three-hour campaign and claim the victory.
"You know, she played really well and I think sometimes it just comes down to luck," Williams said in a post-match press conference. "You just don't get any luck. And there's no easy matches, and I tried to continue to play aggressive, but it just wasn't in the cards today."
Williams said Putintseva "always seemed to have an answer."
Putintseva advances to play 5-seed Sara Errani, who beat Sam Stosur in straight sets but had to fight through a tiebreak on the second set to put Stosur away.
Errani says she's focused only on the next match despite being one of only a few seeded players left in the tournament.
"I know it's really difficult to win matches. Now I have to play against a really good player (Putintseva) that today beat Venus and is playing great on clay," Errani said.
Laura Siegemund beat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, 7-5, 6-2. Siegemund is also playing in the doubles tournament and will have spent more than 10 hours on the court after Thursday night.
She says she's used to long clay matches.
"It's part of my game. Also I think to do a lot of running, and I have a very good physiotherapist, so I've been taken very good care of and it's important for me," Siegemund said.
She will face Elena Vesnina, the Cinderella story of the tournament. Vesnina made her way into the semifinals after playing through the weekend qualifying round, then bouncing Belinda Bencic -- the tournament 2-seed -- on Wednesday and Lourdes Dominguez-Lino on Thursday.
Not before 1 p.m.: Kerber v. Begu
Kasatkina v. Stephens
Siegemund v. Vesnina
Not before 7 p.m.: Errani v. Putintseva