In women’s third-round action, reigning US Open champion Sloane Stephens was eliminated while Madison Keys, runner-up at Flushing Meadows last year, advanced on another rain-hit day at the ATP-WTA Tournament in Cincinnati on Thursday.

Belgian Elise Mertens scored the second top five win of her career, beating Stephens 7-6 (10/8), 6-2 while Keys rallied to defeat fourth-seeded Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber 2-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4.

Keys fired 55 winners with 44 unforced errors against the German, who is playing her first hardcourt tournament in the buildup to the US Open.

“I had to keep it cool, she gets lot of balls back,” Keys said. “I used my forehand and serve well today. I’m really happy and I’m looking to go further.”

Keys next faces Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, who upset French sixth seed Caroline Garcia 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

Petra Kvitova, who toppled Serena Williams in the second round, reached the last eight with a 6-4, 6-2 win over France’s Kristina Mladenovic.

“I just need to get out there and really fight, I was telling myself to fight,” the two-time Wimbledon champion said.

“I did a lot of talking to myself today, pushing myself to just go for it. I’m glad that in the important points I played aggressively - that was important today.”

World number one Simona Halep took advantage of an early afternoon respite from the weather to finish off a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Ajla Tomljanovic.

Halep, clearly frustrated when the match was halted at 3-3 in the third on Wednesday night, won three straight games to finish off the victory in 10 minutes – just in time for drizzle to set in.


2nd rd

Simona Halep (ROM x1) bt Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 4-6, 6-3, 6-3

Amanda Anisimova (USA) bt Petra Martic (CRO) 6-4, 6-3

3rd rd

Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) bt Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 7-6 (7/5), 6-2

Madison Keys (USA x13) bt Angelique Kerber (GER x4) 2-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4

Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) bt Caroline Garcia (FRA x6) 6-4, 3-6, 7-5

Petra Kvitova (CZE x8) bt Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-4, 6-2

Elise Mertens (BEL x15) bt Sloane Stephens (USA x3) 7-6 (10/8), 6-2

With inputs from AFP