Alexandrova beats Gracheva to reach Linz quarterfinals

LINZ, Austria (AP) — Ekaterina Alexandrova advanced to her first quarterfinal in nine months by beating fellow Russian Varvara Gracheva 7-5, 6-1 Wednesday at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz.

The 33rd-ranked Alexandrova had not been beyond the last 16 of a WTA event since winning the Shenzhen Open in January and reaching the semifinals in St. Petersburg the following month.

Alexandrova dropped serve twice in an up-and-down opening set before dominating the second. Her opponent in the quarterfinals will be sixth-seeded Nadia Podoroska or 2018 champion Camila Giorgi.

Podoroska defeated Irina-Camelia Begu 6-4, 6-4 in her first match since reaching the French Open semifinals last month.

Aliaksandra Sasnovich rallied to beat Jana Fett 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 and advance to her third quarterfinal of the season.

Sasnovich next plays Barbora Krejcikova, who outlasted Greet Minnen 5-7, 7-6 (7), 6-4 in almost three hours.

In first-round play, the second-seeded Elise Mertens overcame a first-set slump against Anhelina Kalinina before beating the Ukrainian qualifier 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.

The 21st-ranked U.S Open quarterfinalist took the last five games to close out the win and set up a second-round match against Vera Zvonareva.

Also, French qualifier Oceane Dodin upset Top Seed Open finalist Jil Teichmann 1-6, 6-4, 6-2, and the fifth-seeded Veronika Kudermetova downed Austrian wild-card entry Barbara Haas 6-0, 6-0.

The tournament is the final WTA event of 2020 and takes place without spectators amid tightened coronavirus measures in Austria.

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