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Tomljanovic’s Cincy run blitzed by Kvitova

Ajla Tomljanovic’s impressive week at the Cincinnati Open has ended in anti-climax as she was blown away ruthlessly in her first WTA 1000 quarter-final by on-song Petra Kvitova.

After accounting for two top-20 players already in the US Open warm-up event, the Australian No.1 looked to be running out of gas after a tough week’s work as world No.25 Kvitova swept her aside amid a barrage of 12 aces and 29 winners on Friday.

It took the two-time Wimbledon champ just 63 minutes to race to a 6-2 6-3 triumph over Tomljanovic in what, somewhat surprisingly, was a first meeting on tour for the experienced pair.

The 32-year-old Czech, who reckons she’s had an up-and-down year, simply had too much firepower for Wimbledon quarter-finalist Tomljanovic, her contest-ending forehand tracer effectively summing up the gulf in the pair’s weaponry.

Tomljanovic, who’d already accounted for Spain’s world No.4 Paula Badosa and Russian world No.20 Veronika Kudermetova in draining three-setters in Cincinnati, was outplayed in the opening stanza, not helped by also doling out double faults too liberally.

The Australian world No.63, whose ranking has been affected by the lack of ranking points on offer at Wimbledon where she reached the last-eight for the second straight year, had her opportunity at the start of the second set.

Earning an early break, Tomljanovic looked set to battle back into the contest, but tremendous serving from the left-hander Kvitova soon had her back in control while she also earned five breaks of serve in all.

At least, the Australian is set to return to the world’s top 50 next week as she targets a good run at Flushing Meadows.

Kvitova’s win sets up a semi-final with American Madison Keys, who had earlier on Friday swept past an out-of-sorts Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina 6-2 6-4.

“I knew she is a remarkable player and she can turn it around at any moment so I knew I had to try to stay out in front because at any moment she can go on a roll,” said Keys, of her Kazakh opponent.

“That is kind of the key against her. If you back off at all then she gets to dictate and run you around.”

It’s turning into a big tournament for Keys, who had knocked out Iga Swiatek in the last-16, her first win over a reigning world No.1.

In the other semi-final, No.6 seed Aryna Sabalenka will play French qualifier Caroline Garcia who continued her upset run through the draw with a 6-1 7-5 win over seventh-seed American Jessica Pegula.

Belarusian Sabalenka, who finished last season as the world’s No.2-ranked player, advanced with a 6-4 7-6 (7-1) victory over China’s Zhang Shuai.

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