Stephens ousts Petkovic, reaches quarterfinals in Linz

Sloane Stephens came back from a 5-2 deficit in the first set to defeat Andrea Petkovic 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-3.
Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

LINZ, Austria (AP) -- Second-seeded Sloane Stephens and top-seeded Angelique Kerber reached the quarterfinals of the Generali Ladies in contrasting styles on Thursday.

Stephens needed 2 1/2 hours to defeat Andrea Petkovic of Germany 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-3, and Kerber cruised past Alexandra Cadantu of Romania 6-1, 6-0 in just 50 minutes.

The 12th-ranked Stephens won just two of the first 14 points and fell behind 5-2 in the first set against Petkovic, but the American saved three set points before dominating in a tiebreaker.

"I let out some screams, which I normally don't do," Stephens said about her slow start. "I am just happy to get through."

Stephens went 3-1 up in the second set before Petkovic reeled off 10 straight points to turn it around. She managed an early break in the third and the Australian Open semifinalist closed out the victory on her third match point.

Stephens will play Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland, who rallied to defeat Karin Knapp of Italy 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 to advance to her first quarterfinals since April.

Kerber was broken while serving for the first set but otherwise cruised past the 72nd-ranked Cadantu, who scored just eight points in total on her own serve.

"I was very relaxed and played well from the start," said the 10th-ranked Kerber.

Kerber is one win short of securing the eighth and final spot at the season-ending WTA Championships in Istanbul. She takes on Patricia Mayr-Achleitner in the quarterfinals. The Austrian lost two match points at 5-3 in the second set before defeating Maryna Zanevska of Ukraine 6-1, 6-7 (1), 6-4.

Earlier, Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia routed Katarzyna Piter of Poland 6-0, 6-1 in less than 53 minutes. Piter, playing in her first main draw of the year, broke the seventh-seeded Cibulkova in the second set for her only game.

In her fourth quarterfinal of the season, Cibulkova will take on two-time former champion Ana Ivanovic.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.