Merida hosts WTA 250 tournament, which replenishments the 1000 tournament taking place in Dubai this week. Mexico's event contains some notable name in the field, which starts the quarterfinal battles today in the evening (European time).
Magda Linette capitalizes on her Australian Open's successful campaign. The Pole advanced into 21th place in the rankings which gave her the chance to headline Merida's main draw as the seed number one. Linette earned her place in the quarterfinal after two difficult matches. Especially the first round clash against Camila Osorio was the one, which could bring the upset for the AO semifinalist. Linette lost the first set in tiebreak and was almost out of the tournament being 2-5 with a double break down in the second set. Osorio was serving for the win, but Linette saved the match-point. Another fear came in 9th game, when the Pole was facing a breakpoint, being a second match-point at once. The aggresive and brave play from Linette during it, searching for the winner and deciding for the lob close to the net, is definitely one of the week's highlights from all the competitions. Merida's seed #1 cleared all the trouble in the fabulous style, clipping the rival's wings. Linette came out of nowhere to fight back in second set, winning it 7-5 and utilized her momentum in the decider, where the Colombian had no arguments anymore.
Second round's match against Panna Udvardy started well for Linette, as she won the opening set to love in just 24 minutes. Second set was a weird one until, before it ended prematurely. First five games ended up with breaks. The Hungarian defended the breakpoint in sixth game and moved into the 4-2 lead, gaining another break after a while. Then, Udvardy accidentally stepped on the court and sprained her ankle. The world's number 91 who was close to force the decider, needed to pull out of the match.
Linette will play against Rebecca Peterson in Friday's quarterfinal. The Swede, who gained her place in main draw after winning two matches in the qualifying, made quite an upset, eliminating the seed #5 Alycia Parks in straight sets 6-4 6-2.
Second quarterfinal from the draw's top half will be Caty Mcnally against Kimberly Birrell. The American earned the surprising win against Lin Zhu in first round. The Chinese, who plays the best season in her life, came back to action after winning her maiden WTA title in Thailand Open. Zhu, seeded with #3, was a favorite against McNally, but came up short after 3:16 hours of battle. Both players shared first two sets after intense tie-breaks, but it was McNally who dominated her opponent in the decider, winning it 6-1.
Sloane Stephens approached the Merida Open as the seed #2, eager to make the break-through run after a miserable start of the season. The US Open 2017 champion lost all her three matches during the Australian campaign in February. Stephens managed to win her first match in the year during first round's match against the qualifier Leolia Jeanjean, 6-1 6-3. Second one came with more effort needed, as Stephens was a break down in the deciding set of the match against Varvara Gracheva. The American fought back from being 0-3 in this set and won the decisive tiebreak, reaching the quarterfinal with a final result 5-7 6-2 7-6(5). Camila Giorgi will be Stephens's opponent on Friday. The experienced Italian who also tries to make up her ranking (currently #68), moved into the QFs without losing a set so far. Another QF pairing in the bottom half is the match-up between seed #4 Katerina Siniakova and #7 Elisabetta Cocciaretto.