Second seed Petra Martic and eighth seed Caroline Garcia were the top players to fall at the WTA Auckland Class on Wednesday.
Eugenie Bouchard, who had lost in the first round at 12 consecutive tournaments last year, started the season strong by reaching the quarter-finals after beating Garcia 6-4, 6-4 while France’s Alize Cornet knocked out Martic 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in a three-set marathon.
Third seed Amanda Anisimova cruised through to the quarter-finals on a limited day three of the tournament. The 18-year-old needed only 73 minutes to put away former top-10 player Daria Kasatkina in the featured singles match in the night session.
Anisimova made 32 unforced errors, twice as many as the Russian, but was still far too strong with her all-round play. In the women’s doubles, the heavy-duty pairing of Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki beat top seeds Caroline Dolehide and Johanna Larsson. The duo beat sealed a dominant 6-2, 6-1 victory in 51 minutes to reach the semi-finals.
In a clash of former top-five stars, Bouchard, the 2014 Wimbledon finalist, now as low as 262 got the better of Garcia, who is ranked 46th.
Bouchard said she is feeling more confident now having put extra emphasis on her fitness. “I worked really hard over the off season, so I want to run down every ball and fight to the last ball, because you never know what can happen,” she said. “It’s served me well and it’s definitely won me some points.”
Martic, the world No 15, lived up to her senior status in the first set against Cornet but could not maintain the momentum as her opponent fought back to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, sealing the outcome with three aces back-to-back in the final game. “What a match,” said Cornet, who is ranked 57th, as she left the court.
Cornet switched coaches to Martic’s former mentor Sandra Zanieswka during the off-season and said she initially had trouble adjusting to her new pre-match instruction to be aggressive.
“It was going out of my comfort zone and in the first set I didn’t manage to do it, but finally I found my rhythm and was playing much better. Thank God my serve helped me,” she said with her only three aces coming when she was down 15-30 in the final game.
Cornet, who also rallied from a set down to win her first-round match against Ysaline Bonaventure, will meet Jessica Pegula in the quarter-finals after the American had a comfortable 6-2, 6-2 second-round win over Tamara Zidansek.
Singles, second round
Jessica Pegula (USA) bt Tamara Zidansek (SLO) 6-2, 6-3
Alize Cornet (FRA) bt Petra Martic (CRO x2) 3-6, 6-4, 6-4
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) bt Caroline Garcia (FRA x8) 6-4, 6-4
Amanda Anisimova (USA x3) bt Daria Kasatkina (RUS) 6-2, 6-4
With AFP Inputs