Defending Champion Elina Svitolina in Quarter-Finals

Petra Kvitova- Dubai 2019- Jimmie48/WTA

That didn't happen, so... "It's been a little tough".

Bencic showed real steel to survive Sabalenka's pressure in the final set, twice coming from a break down and staving off four match points to take it to a tie-break. Hopefully I remember all the good times that I've had there. I tried very hard.

"But I'm happy I was able to get two wins".

The WTA event continues until 23rd February, with Thursday's quarter-finals featuring 2019 Brisbane victor and Australian Open semi-finalist Karolina Pliskova against Su-Wei Hsieh, 2019 Sydney champion and Australian Open runner-up Petra Kvitova against Viktoria Kuzmova, reigning French Open champion Simona Halep against Belinda Bencic and defending champion Elina Svitolina against Carla Suarez Navarro.

While the Swiss had to come from a set down, Kvitova's progress was much more serene and included a second-set bagel.

Crowd favorite and third seed Halep, supported even in the middle of a workday by scores of chanting, enthusiastic local Romanian fans, beat Lesia Tsurenko of the Ukraine 6-3, 7-5, breaking seven times from 10 chances.

The 2015 finalist won a marathon game late in the second set, holding for 5-5 after seven deuces plus two set points for her American opponent. I feel good on court.

Ireland's Kearney set for 6 Nations return
Conversely, Scotland kicked off their 2019 campaign with a 33-20 triumph over Italy in Edinburgh. Bundee Aki joins Farrell in the centre while Johnny Sexton and Conor Murry start as half-backs.

With nothing left in the tank, Karolina sprayed a backhand crosscourt error in game 12 to waste such a huge lead and hand the win to her rival who always believed in a comeback to emerge as a deserved victor. "I will try to enjoy more".

Playing her first match since claiming the No. 1 ranking with her Australian Open triumph, the Japanese 21-year-old capitulated in just over an hour, having won less than half of her first serve points while making 25 unforced errors.

"My mind-set now is just to finish the points as quick as possible". I've had many matches with her and won them. I feel good on court. Also I have no expectations.

"And because previous year I wasn't even anywhere close to this ranking and people didn't pay attention to me and that's something that I'm comfortable with".

The Tunisian was down 7-6, 4-0 in the second round match with the two-time defending champion when she retired - she fell towards the end of the first set and required a lengthy medical break.

With a fourth round at the Australian Open, two Fed Cup wins and a run to the Doha final last week, Halep has played a lot of matches in recent weeks and is not keen on getting involved in long rallies and three-set battles.

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