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By Adrianna Outlaw | Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Monica Puig

Monica Puig extended her longest winning streak of the year, while second-seeded Simona Halep and fourth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki lost in Wuhan.

Photo credit: Toray Pan Pacific Open

Monica Puig extended her best run of the season, while seeds stumbled in Wuhan.

The Olympic gold medal champion rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 triumph over hobbled Chinese Shuai Peng surging into the Wuhan Open round of 16.

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Puig celebrates her 24th birthday tomorrow and gave herself an early gift winning back-to-back main-draw matches for the first time since Acapulco in February.

It was the fourth consecutive victory for Puig, who won two matches in qualifying before her main-draw opening victory over Mona Barthel.

“I’ve been in this situation before coming through qualifying and having to make my way to the main draw,” Puig said. “This is a beautiful center court and I really enjoyed playing here tonight.”

The last time Puig won four straight matches was during her gold-medal run at the Rio Olympic Games last summer.

This time, the San Juan native did it with a heavy heart. The first woman to win gold representing Puerto Rico has been heading a fundraiser for her homeland devastated by the ravages of Hurricane Maria that knocked power out for all residents creating conditions Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossell√≥ said put the island on the verge of a “humanitarian crisis.”

World No. 1 Garbine Muguruza reeled off four straight games and took a medical timeout for treatment of a left leg injury and recovered for a 6-4, 6-4 triumph over Lesia Tsurenko. Muguruza saved three of four break points in a one hour, 46-minute win that sends her into a round of 16 meeting with Polish qualifier Magda Linette.  

"I've been playing a lot and competing and today was a very tough match," Muguruza said. "I know I have to be prepared. I always play very good in China. I love it. The fans make me perform better."

It was another painful day for seeds as two of the top four seeds bit the dust.

World No. 31 Daria Kastakina dusted second-seeded Simona Halep, 6-2, 6-1.

It was Kasatkina's first win in three meetings over the two-time French Open finalist and comes weeks after she bounced reigning Roland Garros Jelena Ostapenko, 6-3, 6-2, out of the US Open.

Kastakina roared through the first four games, eventually taking the opening set when Halep pasted a forehand into net.

Kastakina will play compatriot Ekaterina Makarova for a quarterfinal spot. The Olympic gold medal doubles champion stopped Lauren Davis, 6-2, 6-4.

World No. 80 Maria Sakkari earned her first Top 20 win upsetting fourth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, 7-5, 6-3, days after the former No. 1 successfully defended her Tokyo title.

Ten of the Top 15 seeds—No. 2 Halep, No. 4 Wozniacki, No. 5 Johanna Konta, No. 6 Svetlana Kuznetsova, 10th-seeded Madison Keys, 11th-seeded reigning champion Petra Kvitova, No. 12 Angelique Kerber, No. 13 Kristina Mladenovic, 14th-seeded US Open champion Sloane Stephens and No. 15 Anastasija Sevastova—failed to survive the second round.

Seven breaks marked a nervous first set as Peng built a one-set lead.

Puig, who converted all three break points in the second set, began moving the ball corner to corner more effectively and hitting heavier drives. Puig served out the set in 36 minutes to force a decider.

With the heat rule in effect, Peng, who played for three hours, 34 minutes in a stunning 7-6 (7), 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3) upset victory over defending champion Petra Kvitova yesterday, left the court before the start of the third set.

Playing with strapping around her right leg, Peng struggled to push up on her serve and lacked the quick burst moving to her right as the third set progressed.

Puig lashed an ace out wide leveling after six games.

Reading the Peng serve, Puig pounded a forehand return down the line breaking again for 4-3. Puig pumped her fifth ace to close in style.

The 77th-ranked Puerto Rican will face French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko for a quarterfinal spot. Ostapenko has swept all four sets vs. Puig, including a 6-3, 6-2 Roland Garros win earlier this season.

Fresh off her first career hard-court title in Seoul, Ostapenko rallied past world No. 25 Barbora Strycova, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3.

No. 3-seeded Karolina Pliskova blasted nine aces in a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 decision over Shuai Zhang.

Pliskova advanced to a round of 16 clash with China’s Qiang Wang, who backed up her opening-round sweep of US Open champion Sloane Stephens with a 6-3, 6-3, victory over Sorana Cirstea.

Ninth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska exploited seven double faults from Julia Goerges crafting a 7-5, 7-5, conquest. Radwanska will play Australian Ashleigh Barty for a quarterfinal spot. Barty toppled fifth-seeded Johanna Konta in a third-set tie break on Monday.

Alize Cornet beat a Russian opponent for the second straight match dismissing sixth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-3, 6-3, to set up a round of 16 meeting with Varvara Lepchenko. The American qualifier defused Kiki Bertens, 6-4, 6-4.

Caroline Garcia crushed qualifier Christina McHale, 6-1, 6-1, and will face Dominika Cibulkova next.

The seventh-seeded Cibulkova swept Swiss wild card Jil Teichman, 6-2, 6-2.


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