Second seeded defending champion Kiki Bertens and third seeded Aryna Sabalenka were both sent packing in the third round of the WTA Charleston Open on Thursday.
15th seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece got the better of Dutchwoman Bertens in straight sets, winning 7-6, 6-3 to make it to the quarter-finals. She will face the winner of the match between Caroline Wozniacki and Mihaela Buzarnescu in the final eight and would be her first time in the quarter-final of a tournament this season.
With successive losses after her third round appearance at the year’s first Grand Slam in Melbourne, Sakkari would be rather pleased with the way she has made it as far as this in Charleston, having beaten Conny Perrin in her opener before crushing former winner at this tournament, Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-0.
And by defeating Bertens in this encounter, she registered only the third top-10 victory of her career.
Sabalenka, who had earlier admitted she wept after her shock loss to Belinda Bencic at the Dubai Open, had had a slow start to the competition when she needed three sets to get the better of Kateryna Kozlova in her second round match.
Things looked to have come to head now with her latest defeat, with Sabalenka having failed to win three matches in a row in any of the seven tournaments since the Shenzhen Open title victory earlier this season. And it was Monica Puig who sent her on her way, winning 6-2, 7-5 to book her place in the quarter-final.
Puig will now face one of Danielle Collins or Kaia Kanepi for a place in the semi-final.