Polish world number one Iga Swiatek was stunned by Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-4 3-6 7-5 at the Canadian Open on Thursday, while Jessica Pegula beat holder Camila Giorgi to join Coco Gauff and Simona Halep in the quarter-finals.
In the opening set of their last-16 clash, Swiatek struck a double-fault to hand the unseeded Haddad Maia a 3-2 lead and the Brazilian leaned on her powerful serve and groundstrokes to close out the frame without facing a break point. Swiatek fended off five break points to hold serve in a 15-minute opening game of the second set and later consolidated a break for a 5-2 lead before going on to force a decider.
World number 24 Haddad Maia broke Swiatek three times in the third set, including in the final game on her fourth match point when the Pole sent a forehand wide. “I knew that all the matches here would be very tough, not only top 20 players, like the first round was a very, very tough round and I won in three sets as well,” Haddad Maia said. “Tennis is like that. It doesn’t matter where you are playing, which court and with who. You need to push yourself to improve your game and I think that was the key for both (of my three-set) victories and I am very proud of myself.”
French Open champion Swiatek, who had a run of 37 straight wins halted in the third round at Wimbledon last month, said she struggled with the windy conditions. “Next time maybe I’m going to be able to find, even though the conditions are going to be bad, more solutions and just play more solid. Because I did a lot of mistakes that I kind of don’t accept,” she said.
Haddad Maia, 26, will next meet Olympic champion Belinda Bencic, who converted all four of her breakpoint chances against two-time major winner Garbine Muguruza of Spain to complete a 6-1 6-3 win in a late match.
Muguruza also had four opportunities on Bencic’s delivery but the Swiss, who won the 2015 tournament, saved them all to seal her spot in the last eight of the US Open tune-up event.
“Maia has played some great matches throughout the grass season, she’s a tricky lefty, very tall, she has a good serve,” Bencic said.
“It’s definitely going to be a challenge. Hopefully I get some sleep and I’m going to be ready for tomorrow.”
A day after ousting Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, world number 11 Gauff needed three hours and 11 minutes to beat sixth seed Aryna Sabalenka 7-5 4-6 7-6(4).
The American will next face 15th seed Halep, who beat Jil Teichmann 6-2 7-5.
“These type of matches, the goal, yeah, to win the tournament.
“But I feel like for me I needed these matches leading up into the US Open,” said Gauff. “So if I have a tough moment, I can look back on this,” she said..
With the win over Sabalenka, the 18-year-old became the youngest player to reach back-to-back quarter-finals in Canada since Jennifer Capriati in 1990 and 1991.
Zheng Qinwen kept her breakthrough year on track, quieting the home crowd on Centre Court with a 7-5 5-7 6-2 win over Canada’s Bianca Andreescu.
The Chinese 19-year-old, who reached the fourth round at Roland Garros earlier this year, next faces Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Repblic. Pliskova fired down 10 aces on the way to a 6-1 6-7(9) 6-3 win over third seed Maria Sakkari of Greece.
American seventh seed Pegula rallied to end the title defence of Italian Giorgi with a 3-6 6-0 7-5 victory and will next face Yulia Putintseva after the Kazakh beat Alison Riske-Amritraj 6-3 7-5.
Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil serves against Iga Swiatek of Pland at Sobeys Stadium. (USA TODAY Sports)