Thursday's on-court action in Montreal was heavily disrupted by the rain, which was falling down for almost whole the day with some breaks of dry weather conditions. The order of play was rescheduled a few times and not every match from the delightful round of 16 line-up got successfully played. Petra Kvitova vs. Belinda Bencic and Liudmila Samsonova vs. Aryna Sabalenka are the games rescheduled for Friday.
The match between Iga Swiatek and Karolina Muchova was an absolute highlight of this long day. The revenge for this year's Roland Garros final did not disappoint in terms of emotions, as it took three sets for the Pole to defeat her opponent. Both the players spent almost 10 hours in the venue, counting from the start to the end of this match.
Swiatek was a strong favorite of this match related to odds and started it really well by winning the opening set by 6-1. The scoreline does not reflect the image of this set though, as both the players created breakpoints in two service games of the opponent. Muchova did not convert her chances, while Swiatek did it two times and moved up into set lead. Muchova became to be more effective in second set and started it well from leading 4-1. The Czech kept her advantage to the end and leveled the sets score before the first and very long break caused by the rain.
The world's ranking leader got an early break advantage from the start after resumption. The set was a long and tight battle, interrupted by the rain again, but Swiatek survived the pressure, holding all her serves till the end despite two chances created by Muchova in 4th game. Whole the match was almost 3 hours long, excluding the rain delays, and ended up late in the evening local time. This was a crucial win for Swiatek, who assured herself to stay in the spot of WTA's number one due to advancing into quarters. It's also the first quarterfinal reached by Swiatek in Canada. The match delivered ton of emotions and some great rallies, but both the players were quite vulnerable in terms of unforced errors, which still gives the room for improvement for the Pole.
The next stop can not be any easier for Swiatek, as she plays against Danielle Collins in quarterfinal. The American seemingly bounced back after miserable season so far. Collins dropped in the rankings into 49th place, which forced her to climb through qualies field. Despite being close to got eliminated in final round of qualies and playing two three-setters in the weekend against much lower ranked opponent - Eugenie Bouchard and Emina Bektas, the American clicked the gear in main draw matches. Collins did not lose a single set against Elina Svitolina, Maria Sakkari and Leylah Fernandez. The style of those wins was also impressive, as the 2022 Australian Open runner-up was dominant force in every duel, scoring multiple winners and showing the signs of her peak performance in terms of using her best tools like return or backhand strikes. Collins shows a great efficiency on serve as well this week, apart from all the vulnerabilities in this area from earlier parts in the season. Leylah Fernandez did not create any single breakpoint against the American, who had a brilliant stats of 83% first serve winning points and 74% on second serve. 23 winners in compare to 17 unforced errors in the latest match from 5 winning streak on count is also some statement, that Collins is a force to reckon by everyone again.
The QF battle of Americans
Three US players advanced into quarters, as apart from Collins, the top ranked Americans - Jessica Pegula and Cori Gauff made it an easy job to set up the electric quarterfinal clash. It's not just the battle of two best ranked Americans, but also the match-up between two world's top 10 players and friends, who share the court during doubles competitions. Pegula capitalized on playing early in the afternoon against Jasmine Paolini. The match against Italian was not interrupted by the rain at any time, and Pegula could focus on resting before Friday's challenge while the other players were still waiting to even start their play till the evening. Pegula on by 6-4 6-0 in a one-sided match and same did Cori Gauff, but her crushing win against Marketa Vondrousova was somewhat a surprise. Not just the win of Gauff, who is on fire after winning the WTA 500 in Washington, but the extent of this win is surprising, as Vondrousova was expected to take up the fight as a new top 10 player and Grand Slam champion. Gauff has needed just 63 minute to defeat the Czech by 6-3 6-0, winning 10 out of 11 games since the score 2-2 in first set.
Rybakina to play Kasatkina
Elena Rybakina and Daria Kasatkina is the third of quarterfinals pairing, which got successfully settled on Thursday. The 3rd seed had much more comfortable day in the office while playing against Sloane Stephens, than in her thrilling three-setter against Jennifer Brady in previous round. Rybakina was on the front foot in both the sets won by 6-3, while breaking her opponent 5 times in a short match ended up with a routine win. Kasatkina has also did not disappoint as a favourite against Marie Bouzkova. Despite the impression, that it's not the best season for Kasatkina, the Russian achieves her 6th quarterfinal advance in 2023.