The top two seeds at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz had contrasting debuts in the 2021 edition of the tournament on Tuesday. Top seed Emma Raducanu lost her opener while second seed, Simona Halep reached the last eight without much ado.
Chinese qualifier Xinyu Wang upset the 2021 US Open champion, 6-1, 6-7(0), 7-5 in two hours and 36 minutes. Wang hit 32 winners and had 24 unforced errors while Raducanu was undone by the 28 unforced errors and 21 winners. This is Wang’s first win against a player ranked inside the top-20. Incidentally, this week, Raducanu made her debut in the top-20 of the WTA rankings in 20th place.
Speaking after her win on-court, Wang said, “I always try to believe in myself and always try to focus on this point, right now, and just enjoying the match.” The 106th-ranked 20-year-old also thanked the crowd for supporting her. “I really felt the passion here. It’s also my first time here, I really enjoy playing this tournament.”
For a place in the semi-finals, Wang – who’s now reached back-to-back quarter-finals – will play Alison Riske. The eighth-seeded American won 6-4, 6-4 against Alize Cornet in the second round.
Upper Austria Ladies Linz: Simona Halep makes no mistake in the opener
Meanwhile, Halep, the former world no. 1 defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-5, 6-3 in an hour and 38 minutes. This was the second time the two were meeting this year since their third-round clash at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in October. Back then, Sasnovich had gone on to upset Halep.
In their encounter in the Austrian event, Halep hit one fewer winner than Sasnovich – 20 to the latter’s 21 but also had five fewer unforced errors as compared to the Belarusian – 13 to 18. For a place in the semis, Halep will take on seventh seed Jasmine Paolini. The Italian won against Saisai Zheng, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.
Halep’s compatriot, Jaqueline Cristian also clinched a spot in the quarter-finals after her opponent, Rebecca Peterson retired while down 2-5 in the opening set. Cristian will play fourth seed Veronika Kudermetova next. Kudermetova won against Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Halep and Cristian could face each other in the semi-final, in a rematch of their Transylvania Open encounter.
The last quarter-final at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz will be contested between third seed Danielle Collins and Alison Van Uytvanck. The American won her second-round clash 6-1, 6-2 against Greet Minnen. Van Uytvanck, meanwhile, ousted Lesia Tsurenko 6-0, 6-3 in their round-of-16 encounter.