Swiatek makes a winning comeback, defeating Zheng in Stuttgart

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World number one Iga Swiatek reached the quarter-finals of the WTA Stuttgart event with a straight-sets win over Zheng Qinwen on Thursday in her return from injury.

The Pole won 6-1, 6-4 as she dominated the first set on her way to victory in just under 90 minutes at the clay court tournament.

“I felt like I had to be 100 percent focused from start to finish, to think of tactics and tactics,” Swiatek said.

“I’m very happy that I’m not rusty and I could play good tennis, even if I had a break.

After Zheng broke to lock up the second set at 4-4, the French Open winner broke twice in quick succession and then served out the match.

“She’s very talented, and everyone can see that,” Swiatek said of her Chinese opponent.

“I had to change, and I’m just happy that I focused on myself, on what I wanted to do… and I feel very comfortable. So I’m happy that I can I have good tennis to show.”

Swiatek pulled out of the Miami Open and Billie Jean King Cup qualifiers with a rib injury, but told reporters on Wednesday: “I’m not hurt anymore.”

Coco Gauff’s French Open warm-up was cut short when last year’s Roland Garros runner-up fell in the last 16 to Anastasia Potapova.

The Russian impressed with her return game to dominate the American, winning 6-2, 6-3.

World number six Gauff, who overcame Potapova’s compatriot Veronika Kudermetova in three sets despite an erratic second-round performance on Wednesday, did not convert any of her six break points against Potapova .

Potapova, who is ranked 24th, is competing in Stuttgart for the first time with the 22-year-old advancing to her fourth quarter-final of the year.

Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina was forced to retire from her last-16 clash with Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Haddad Maia, 26, was leading 6-1, 3-1 when her seventh-ranked opponent retired with an injury.

Czech world number one Karolina Pliskova battled past Croatian Donna Vekic 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/5).

Pliskova, who won the Stuttgart title in 2018, will face Swiatek on Friday for a place in the semi-finals.


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