Elina Svitolina defeats Vera Zvonareva at Abu Dhabi Open

Abu Dhabi Open: Kenin, Svitolina survive match points to reach quarters, Sakkari knocks out Muguruza

Top seed Sofia Kenin admitted "being a Grand Slam champion" proved crucial as she saved a match point to reach the quarter-finals of the season-opening Abu Dhabi WTA tournament on Sunday.

The defending Australian Open champion defeated 13th-seeded Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4. I was so sure of myself, "Gasanova said of her decisive victory".

'It was not me on the court, an ecstatic Gasanova told the media, during her post-match press conference. 'I don't know if I did this today, but that's my goal.

The Czech finally stopped Gasanova from motoring through the match without being broken, using her fierce forehand to storm through a break at love and level the second set at 4-4.

Muguruza will face Maria Sakkari in an intriguing last-16 match next after the Greek ended the hopes of American Gauff with a comfortable 7-5 6-2 victory. Putintseva had match point when serving at 6-5 up in the second set, but Kenin saved the point and broke Putintseva's serve to take the set to a tiebreak.

Svitolina is expected to face another opponent from Russia - Veronika Kudermetova. It was a vintage display from the former No.2, who was facing her first Top 10 opponent since defeating Karolina Pliskova at 2018 Moscow. The fourth-seeded Sabalenka earned a measure of revenge for her defeat to Jabeur in their only previous match in the third round of the French Open in October.

"She was striking the ball really well", Svitolina said. "I'm really surprised, but when I woke up today, I thought, 'Why not?"

For her quarterfinal opponent, Sakkari awaits the victor of the following match on Centre Court, between No.1 seed Sofia Kenin of the United States and No.13 seed Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan.

In her last match, Kostyuk faced Tamara Zidanshek from Slovenia.

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