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Aryna Sabalenka ends Canadian’s strong run in Montreal

Tennis: National Bank Open

Aug 12, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus hits a shot against Rebecca Marino of Canada (not pictured) during third round play at Stade IGA. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

MONTREAL -- Top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus ended Canadian Rebecca Marino’s strong run at the National Bank Open on Thursday with a 6-1, 6-3 victory.

The 30-year-old Marino, a wild card ranked 220th, made it to the round of 16 by upsetting No. 16 seed Madison Keys and 31st-ranked Paula Badosa.

“It didn’t matter who I was going to play. I just wanted to leave it all on the court and give it my best shot,” Marino said. “In my heart, I feel like I belong with these players, I belong at this level. And I feel the results demonstrated that. . I’m glad I got to show everyone how I play.”

Sabalenka, ranked No. 3, saved four break points to cruise to a 5-0 lead in the first set. Marino showed life in the second set with a pair of aces and held serve through the first six games. But she struggled with break points, going 0 for 5 in the match.

“For her, it was nothing to lose today and the crowd was supporting her, so she kind of was in a good shape and good mood,” Sabalenka said. “So I was trying to not give her any opportunities to come back in the match or even to put any pressure on me. I was kind of aggressive from the beginning to the end. It’s dangerous to play against players who have nothing to lose.”

Sabalenka will face eighth-seeded Aryna Azarenka, also of Belarus, in the quarterfinals Friday. Azarenka beat Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (2).

Fourth-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic beat Amanda Anisimova of the United States 6-1, 7-6 (8) to set up a quarterfinal match against Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain. Sorribes Tormo edged Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic 6-7 (4), 6-0, 6-3.

Camila Giorgi of Italy beat seventh-seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-4. She will face 15th-seeded Cori Gauff of the United States. Gauff advanced in a walkover after Johanna Konta of Britain withdrew because of a knee injury.

Second-seeded Bianca Andreescu of Canada, looking to defend her 2019 title, faced 13th-seeded Ons Jabeur of Tunisia in a night match. The winner will play the winner of the late match between Americans Danielle Collins and Jessica Pegula.