ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) — Brazilian qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia beat top-seeded Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-3 on Wednesday in the Mexican Open for her first victory in seven career matches against players ranked in the top 10.
The fourth-ranked Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open, was making her first appearance in the hardcourt event since winning the 2016 title.
“It was just a tough match, obviously she played well,” Stephens said. “A tough day. But I’m not too sad about it. I’m just going to go back and work some more, practice some more and get ready for Indian Wells.”
The 22-year-old Haddad Maia will face Wang Yafan in the quarterfinals. Wang led Monica Puig 4-1 when Puig retired because of an injury.
Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka routed Tatjana Maria 6-2, 6-1; third-seeded Donna Vekic beat Christina McHale 6-4, 7-5; seventh-seeded Saisai Zheng topped Timea Babos 4-6, 6-4, 6-3; and eighth-seeded Johanna Konta beat Varvara Flink 6-4, 6-1.
In the men’s event at The Princess Mundo Imperial, top-seeded Rafael Nadal faced Nick Kyrgios in a night match. The second-ranked Nadal is playing his first event since losing the Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic. Nadal won in Acapulco in 2005 and 2013.
In the day session, third-seeded John Isner beat fellow American Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal match against eighth-seeded John Millman, a 6-0, 6-2 winner over Peter Gojowczyk.
At night, fifth-seeded Alex de Minaur advanced in walkover over Feliciano Lopez, and Stan Wawrinka beat seventh-seeded Steve Johnson 7-6 (5), 6-4.
Defending champion Juan Martin del Potro is sidelined by a knee injury. Lesia Tsurenko, the women’s winner the last two years, is skipping the event.