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Bertens beats Bonaventure in St. Petersburg opener

Ysaline Bonaventure

Ysaline Bonaventure of Belgium returns the ball to Kiki Bertens of Netherlands during the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy-2019 tennis tournament match in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

AP

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Kiki Bertens and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova are set for a rematch of their Australian Open encounter after both reached the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy quarterfinals Thursday.

Bertens easily saw off Belgian qualifier Ysaline Bonaventure 6-4, 6-2 in their second-round match, while Pavlyuchenkova saved five of six break points on her way to a 6-4, 6-4 upset of former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

The eighth-ranked Bertens lost to Pavlyuchenkova two weeks ago in the second round of the Australian Open 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. Pavlyuchenkova went all the way to the quarterfinals on that occasion before losing to Danielle Collins.

Bertens leads 3-2 in career matches against Pavlyuchenkova, though the Russian has won their last two meetings. Thursday’s win over Bonaventure was Bertens’ first match since her Australian Open loss thanks to a bye in the first round in St. Petersburg.

Earlier Thursday, Aryna Sabalenka recovered from a second-set slipup to reach the quarterfinals, beating Alison van Uytvanck 6-1, 6-4.

In her first match since reaching a career-high ranking of No. 10 on Monday, the Belarusian trailed 3-1 in the second before winning four games in a row.

Sabalenka, who had a first-round bye, will next face Ekaterina Alexandrova, who beat qualifier Tereza Martincova 7-5, 6-2.

Sabalenka defeated Alexandrova 6-3, 6-3 this month on her way to winning the Shenzhen Open title.