(Reuters) – Second seed Caroline Garcia beat Chinese qualifier Zhang Yuxuan 6-3 6-4 on Thursday to advance to the Tianjin Open quarter-finals.
Facing the 24-year-old local hope for the first time, Garcia dropped her serve in the opening game but rallied to claim the next five games, including a run of 11 points in a row.
The pair exchanged early breaks in the second set but Garcia took a decisive lead at 4-3 and went on to seal victory in 90 minutes.
“It’s never easy to play someone you never played before,” French number one Garcia said.
“She had nothing to lose, and she was hitting the ball very well, especially from the backhand side.”
The 24-year-old will next face sixth seed Petra Martic.
“I played her in Madrid this year,” said Garcia, who beat Martic 6-3 7-5 in the Spanish capital. “She has a good serve and a good forehand, so I’ll have to play my best and see what I can do.”
Third seed Elise Mertens secured an impressive 6-2 6-3 victory over Slovakian Jana Cepelova and the Belgian will face Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei in the last eight.
Briton Katie Boulter recovered from a mid-match blip to put away Czech Barbora Krejcikova 6-3 1-6 6-3 and set up a quarter-final against top seed Karolina Pliskova.
(Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)