Sports

Defending champion McHale reaches quarterfinals in Japan

TOKYO — Defending champion Christina McHale has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Japan Women's Open with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Sara Sorribes Tormo.

McHale dominated with solid groundstrokes and took advantage of 10 double-faults by Tormo, who was coming off a win over three-time champion Sam Stosur, to set up a quarterfinal clash with Elise Mertens of Belgium.

"It was tougher than the score shows and there were some close games," said McHale, who is already looking forward to another quarterfinal match. "I've never played (Mertens) her before but I know she is playing very well. We practiced the other day and it's going to be a tough match."

Upsets continued Thursday when Kazakhstan qualifier Zarina Diyas beat second-seeded Zhang Shuai 6-4, 6-2.

A day after ousting top-seeded Kristina Mladenovic, Croatia's Jana Fett booked her spot in the quarterfinals with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Jana Cepelova of Slovakia.

Eighth-seeded Yulia Putintseva advanced after an abbreviated second-round match. She was leading 6-2, 2-0 when Han Xinyun retired because of injury.

China's Wang Qiang overpowered local favourite Kurumi Nara 6-2, 6-3.

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