Leading seeds Aryna Sabalenka and Garbine Muguruza took the long road to victory on Wednesday to book into the quarter-finals of the Kremlin Cup.
The pair advanced at the ATP-WTA event after two-hour-plus battles, with Muguruza needing nearly three to go past Czech Terena Martincova 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
Top-seeded Sablenka defeated Ajla Tomljanovic, handing the Australian a 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-1 loss.
The Belarus player put aside her disappointment after being forced to the sidelines in Indian Wells due to a positive COVID test, and has sprung into action this week in the Russian capital.
Sabalenka is playing the tournament main draw for the first time, losing in the first round of qualifying as a teenager five years ago.
“She was quite a tough opponent for my first match after a break,” the winner said. “Step by step, I found my range.
“I was feeling comfortable on the court. Hopefully, I can play even better in the next match.”
Sabalenka notched an impressive 47 winners including 10 aces. breaking her opponent’s serve five times; she swept the last six games to victory.
Double Grand Slam champion Muguruza kept Spanish colours aloft as the only Iberian in the field and hoping to duplicate the title won by her coach Conchita Martinez here in 1996
“I feel happy. It’s my first victory in Russia and I’m very excited,” Muguruza said. “It was a very difficult match, and I’m happy to get it”
Muguruza notched 35 winners to 24 for than Martincova in a match featuring a dozen breaks of serve from 24 chances.
Main photo:- Aryna Sabalenka booked into quarter final of Kremlin Cup