Stephens falls to inspired Cibulková in Beijing

Dominika Cibulková beat Sloane Stephens 4-6 6-2 6-3. (AFP pic)

BEIJING: Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulková rallied from a set down to defeat former US Open champion Sloane Stephens 4-6 6-2 6-3 and reach the quarterfinals of the China Open on Wednesday.

An error-prone Cibulková allowed American Stephens to race into a one-set lead before clawing her way back. Having dragged the match into a decider, Cibulková found her range to close out victory in under two hours.

Cibulková’s first win over Stephens in three years, following defeats at the Mexican Open and at last year’s US Open, earned her a last-eight clash with Anastasija Sevastova.

The Latvian advanced with a comfortable 6-3 6-2 victory over Croatia’s Donna Vekić.

Former world number one Karolína Plíšková cruised past Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 6-3 6-4 in a second round clash to set up a meeting with China’s Wang Qiang.

Wang won the last meeting between the two players at last week’s Wuhan Open.

Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki hardly broke sweat as she felled Croatia’s Petra Martić 7-5 6-3.

Up next for Wozniacki is a clash with Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit, who has beaten the 28-year-old Dane twice in their previous three matches.

Local hope Zhang Shuai beat Hungary’s Tímea Babos 6-1 6-2 and faces Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber next.