Emma Raducanu will meet Ons Jabeur in a hugely anticipated last 16 clash at the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, after the Brit showed her class in what was ultimately a comfortable win over Czech Republic’s Marie Bouzkova.
Having returned to action at the start of the year following a difficult spell with injuries, Raducanu naturally took some time to find her rhythm, and it was Bouzkova who looked the more assured in the opening stages as she won the first two games.
Slowly but surely, however, the 2021 US Open champion began to get a foothold in the game with a couple of exquisite drop-shots an indication of what was to follow, and when she levelled the first set at 4-4, the balance of the contest swung well and truly in her favour.
Raducanu won the next two games to claim the first set, and from that point onwards there was only ever going to be one outcome.
A dominant display in the second set saw the Brit produce some wonderful tennis which Bouzkova simply had no answer to, and she eventually ran out 6-4, 6-1 winner to book a date with World Number. 6 Jabeur on Wednesday.
On the prospect of facing Jabeur, Raducanu said: “We played here a year ago, just about, at the Mubadala Exhibition and it was a great match for the fans. She's definitely the home favorite here and rightfully so.
“I really like Ons. She's someone who's kind of taken me under her wing as I've been new to the tour. I'm really looking forward to it because a lot of people were saying to me, ‘Oh, Ons, Ons, Ons,’ and I was like, I'm playing Maria, who's ranked like 30th in the world and that’s not an easy match.
“I'm really pleased to put myself in this situation and yeah, I'm going out with nothing to lose against her.”
The day’s opening contest was an all-American affair as Ashlyn Krueger and Bernarda Pera went head-to-head for a place in the last 16.
The duo served up an entertaining spectacle which took three sets to determine a winner, and it was Krueger who eventually prevailed 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.
Another three-set thriller followed as Sorana Cîrstea fought back from one set down to overcome Grand Slam semi-finalist Caroline Garcia 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, a contest which ebbed and flowed throughout as both players produced moments of quality.
Krueger and Cîrstea are joined in the last 16 by Beatriz Haddad Maia who defeated China’s Xiyu Wang in straight sets.
Haddad Maia dominated the early stages and took the first set 6-2, but was made to work hard by the three-time junior Grand Slam-winner in the second, which was eventually settled via a tie-break as the Brazilian secured a 6-2, 7-6 victory.
Fans in attendance were treated to another fantastic match on Stadium Court between Daria Kasatkina and Diane Parry as the pair battled for a place in the next round.
After Kasatkina had won a tight first set 6-4, French star Parry rallied and fought back to claim the second 7-5.
The third set followed a similar theme to the previous two, with little separating the players, but it was Kasatkina whose quality ultimately shone through as she clinched it 6-4 to book her place in the next round.