American Danielle Collins produced the performance of the day at the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open, defeating four-time Grand Slam-winner Naomi Osaka in straight sets to progress to the last 16, while there were also wins for Heather Watson, Cristina Bucșa, Magda Linette and Sara Sorribes Tormo on another action-packed day at the WTA 500 event.
Collins and Osaka, a two-time champion at both the US Open and Australian Open, went head-to-head on Stadium Court this afternoon, with both players barely dropping a point in their service games during the early stages and the American, at one point, firing three consecutive Aces.
After breaking Osaka’s serve, it was Collins who eventually edged the first set 7-5, and while the 2022 Australian Open runner-up’s performance levels intensified during the second, Osaka struggled to regain any sense of rhythm in her play.
Collins dominated the second set, breaking Osaka’s serve on three occasions to secure a highly impressive 7-5, 6-0 victory and set up a huge last-16 clash with World Number. 5 Elena Rybakina later this week.
Osaka and her partner Ons Jabeur then suffered elimination from the doubles competition with a straight sets 6-3 6-3 defeat to Magda Linette and Bernarda Pera.
It rounded off a frustrating day for Osaka, the former World Number 1.
Watson, meanwhile, maintained her impressive form in the tournament by following two qualifying wins with another success over French Open semifinalist Kudermetova to seal her place in the next round.
The Brit, 31, produced two solid performances in qualifying at the weekend and picked up where she left off, sustaining her impressive form throughout the first set, which she won 6-3.
Kudermetova responded well in the second and, at one point, looked on course to take it to a third set, but Watson’s quality rose to the fore late on with the 2016 Wimbledon mixed doubles champion eventually progressing 6-3, 7-5.
The day’s action had opened with a doubles contest in the Abu Dhabi sunshine as Brazilian partnership Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is through to the last 16 of the singles competition, and Luisa Stefani overturned a one-set deficit to defeat Anna Danilina and Nadia Kichenok.
It was a disappointing day for 18-year-old Filipino Alex Eala who was beaten in straight sets by Poland’s Magda Linette.
There was nothing to choose between the two players in a tight first set which was eventually settled by a tie-break. However, Linette, a semi-finalist at the Australian Open last year, produced a ruthless performance in the second set to progress to the Round of 16 courtesy of a 7-6, 6-1 victory.
She will be joined by Cristina Bucșa who recovered from falling a set behind against Wang to progress.
Wang, 22, won a close first set 7-5, but the momentum swung in Bucșa’s favour following a dominant display in the second, with the Spaniard eventually going through 5-7, 6-0, 6-3.
Sorribes Tormo, a compatriot of Bucșa’s, is also through to the last 16 after coming out on top in a three-set cracker against Czech Republic’s Linda Nosková, eventually prevailing 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
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