Voegele stuns top seed Stephens in Acapulco quarterfinals

 World No.183 Stefanie Voegele played well above her ranking to stun 2016 Acapulco champ and current top seed Sloane Stephens in the quarterfinals at the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL presentado por HSBC.
Aggressive from start to finish against a lethargic-looking Stephens, Voegele’s 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 victory  over the reigning US Open champion marks a full-circle moment for the 27-year-old Swiss player. Incredibly, it’s Voegele’s first Top 20 victory in almost five years - since her defeat of then-No.13-ranked Stephens in Tokyo in 2013.

And like Stephens, Voegele came into Acapulco seeking her first WTA match win of the year. She found her groove in the seaside Mexican resort town, posting back-to-back wins over Tatjana Maria and Maria Sakkari in straight sets before taking on familiar foe Stephens in the quarterfinals.
Voegele owns a 3-1 lead over the American in their head-to-head record, but they hadn’t faced off since that match in Tokyo in 2013, when the Swiss was at her career-high ranking of No.42.
For her part, Stephens had a much more dramatic road to the quarterfinals than her opponent; after cruising in the first round to Pauline Parmentier, she had to save match points in her next match against Arantxa Rus to come back from a set down and win 5-7, 7-6(6), 6-0.
Against Voegele, Stephens started off sluggish, errors coming thick off her backhand and her timing just a beat too slow. The Swiss took full advantage, taking the ball early and trading breaks twice with Stephens before closing out the first set with a decisive break in the final game.
In the second, it was Stephens who took the lead - she took the pace off of her first serves and raised her level of aggression to break early, building up a 3-1 lead. Voegele dug her way out of trouble again, breaking back at 3-3 and keeping the pressure on Stephens. But Stephens rose to the occasion, reeling off the last three games of the set to level the match at one set apiece.
But Stephens couldn’t keep up the intensity in the final set. She put in a monumental effort to get the break back after Voegele once again got off to an early lead, but the Swiss recovered strongly to break twice more to close out the match, dropping just two points in four games.
Voegele will face either No.4 seed Zhang Shuai or qualifier Rebecca Peterson in the Acapulco semifinals; a victory would earn her a spot in her career-first WTA-level final.
Though it was a different year and a different round, it was the same result for Lesia Tsurenko against Kristina Mladenovic at the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL presentado por HSBC on Thursday night.
The No.7 seed and defending champion dispatched the No.2 seeded Frenchwoman in a rematch of last year's title match, 6-2, 6-2, to advance to the semfinals for the second year in a row.
From 2-0 down in the opening set, the Ukrainian No.2 won eight straight games to stamp her authority on the match, and won four of the last five as well after Mladenovic got the second set back on serve.
Tsurenko has not dropped a set in Acapulco since 2015, having won five matches in straight sets en route to her third career WTA title last year - where she was, ironically, the No.7 seed and defeated No.2 seed Mladenovic in the championship, 6-1, 7-5.
Six winners to seven unforced errors helped Tsurenko break serve a total of three times in the opener, as Mladenovic grew increasingly wayward after toughing out a pair of multiple-deuce games to move ahead 2-0 to begin the quarterfinal.
The Frenchwoman struck just five winners herself in the first eight games, but racked up a total of 14 unforced errors while serving under 50% for the set.
Tsurenko continued to motor through the match as the second set began, and clocked a backhand return winner down the line to win her eighth straight game and bring the score to 6-2, 2-0.
Though Mladenovic offered some brief resistance, breaking at love with the help of a double fault, to get the second back on serve, she was unable to ever draw even as Tsurenko broke twice more to wrap up the match in one hour, 10 minutes and keep her title defense alive. 
The World No.40 ended the match in the positive overall, with 15 winners and 11 unforced errors as she improved her head-to-head against the World No.14 to six wins in seven matches. 
Mladenovic, who double faulted six times, including on match point, stroked just 12 winners to 22 unforced errors in defeat.
The Ukrainian will next face Australian No.3 seed Daria Gavrilova, who needed three sets and nearly two-and-a-half hours to see off Paraguay's Veronica Cepede Royg, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.