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WTA roundup: Kristina Kucova wins tough 3-set match at Winners Open

Mar 25, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Kristina Kucova of Slovakia reaches for a forehand against Ashleigh Barty of Australia (not pictured) in the second round of the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 25, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Kristina Kucova of Slovakia reaches for a forehand against Ashleigh Barty of Australia (not pictured) in the second round of the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Slovakian Kristina Kucova held off home-country favorite Irina Bara 2-6, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) in a marathon three-set match to advance to the quarterfinals of the Winners Open in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, on Thursday.

The No. 8 seed, Kucova needed three hours, four minutes to defeat Bara in a match that was a statistical stalemate on paper. They split total points won, first service points won and first return points won almost down the middle.

Next for Kucova is Mayar Sharif of Egypt, a 6-2, 6-2 winner over Alex Eala of the Philippines. Also advancing Thursday were Czech Kristyna Pliskova, a 6-4, 6-4 winner against Katarzyna Kawa of Poland, and Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu, who defeated Lara Arruabarrena of Spain 6-3, 7-5.

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Top seed Elise Mertens, No. 2 Elena Rybakina, No. 7 Danielle Collins and No. 8 Yulia Putintseva advanced to the quarterfinals in San Jose, Calif.

Mertens of Germany reached her fifth quarterfinals this season with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 win over Kristina Mladenovic of France.

Mertens will face Putintseva of Kazakhstan for a third time after Putintseva rallied from a set down to beat Australian Ajla Tomljanovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Rybakina bounced back to defeat American wild card Claire Liu 2-6, 6-0, 6-2. Rybakina, also from Kazakhstan, just returned from a fourth-place finish at the Tokyo Olympics.

Collins of the United States came back from losing the opening set to beat former U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. Collins will face Rybakina in the quarterfinals.

–Field Level Media