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By Alberto Amalfi | Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Belinda Bencic

Top-seeded Belinda Bencic broke serve four times subduing Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6(4), 6-4 to slip into the St. Petersburg quarterfinals.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

On a day that saw a pair of French qualifiers topple champions, Belinda Bencic was in no mood for early exits.

The top-seeded Swiss broke serve four times subduing Russian wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6(4), 6-4 to slip into the St. Petersburg quarterfinals.

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Bencic, who fell to 17-year-old Canadian left-hander Leylah Fernandez in the Fed Cup qualifier on home soil last weekend, bounced back to charge into the last eight for the first time since she reached the 2016 St. Petersburg final in her tournament debut.

Qualifiers came up big on Wednesday.

French qualifier Oceane Dodin surprised fourth-seeded Johanna Konta 6-3, 6-4. Dodin dictated play on serve smacking seven aces against seven double faults, winning 31 of 35 break points and denying both break poins she faced.

The 159th-ranked Dodin scored back-to-back Tour-level wins for the first time since she reached the 2017 Washington, DC semifinals.

Dodin, who beat compatriot Fiona Ferro to qualify for the main draw, will play either eighth-seeded Elena Rybakina or lucky loser Ferro in the quarterfinals.

Earlier, qualifier Alize Cornet swept 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-1, 6-2. World No. 61 Cornet beat Ostapenko for the second time in three meetings.

The heavy-hitting Ostapenko was coming off a busy Fed Cup weekend in which she pushed Serena Williams to two tie break sets and upset Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in the United States' pulsating 3-2 win over Latvia.

"It's never easy especially against a big champion like Jelena," Cornet said. "She was obviously not feeling well in the first set, but in the second set she started to play better. So I really had to play a consistent match and I'm happy I won in two sets and the match was barely longer than an hour because it gives me some energy for the rest of the tournament."

Cornet converted five of seven break points and exploited eight double faults from a sluggish Ostapenko in a 62-minute rout.


Анастасия Потапова 🇷🇺в двух сетах смогла одолеть Айлу Томлянович 🇦🇺-7/6(7-2), 6/3. ⠀ 💬«...Это один из лучших моих результатов за всю карьеру...», -сказала Анастасия после матча. ⠀ Anastasia Potapova 🇷🇺defeated in straight sets Ajla Tomljanovic🇦🇺 - 7/6(7-2), 6/3. ⠀ 💬“...It’s my first big result.I don’t know what to say, this really means a lot to me, I am happy that I reached this stage of the tournament...”,-said Anastasia after the match. #formulatx #spblt #ladiestrophy #спблт #формулатх

A post shared by ST.PETERSBURG LADIES TROPHY (@formula_tx) on

Russian qualifier Anastasia Potapova defeated 57th-ranked Ajla Tomljanovic 7-6(2), 6-3 in one hour, 33 minutes.

February is a crucial month for Bencic.

A year ago, Bencic lost to Veronika Kudermetova in the second round of St. Petersburg qualifying. Bencic shrugged that setback off and toppled four Top 10 players to win Dubai before upsetting world No. 1 Naomi Osaka en route to the Indian Wells semifinals.

Bencic is defending 1,290 ranking points from those two results in the coming weeks.

Next up for Bencic is a quarterfinal clash vs. sixth-seeded Greek Maria Sakkari or French qualifier Cornet. 


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