Stephens battles into Montreal quarter-finals

Montreal – US Open champion Sloane Stephens reached the Montreal quarter-finals on Thursday with a rollercoaster 6-2, 7-5 win over Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro.

Third seed Stephens, building up to the start of the defence of her maiden Grand Slam title in New York later this month, squandered three match points at 5-1 in the second set.

That setback allowed Suarez Navarro to battle back to 5-5 before the American steadied herself to claim a third win in three meetings against the Spaniard after 90 minutes on court.

Stephens hit 34 winners to the qualifier's 13 and goes on to face either German 10th seed Julia Goerges or Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia.

Australian 15th seed Ashleigh Barty also made the quarter-finals by seeing off Alize Cornet of France 7-6 (7/3), 6-4.

Cornet had knocked out Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber in the second round on Wednesday.

Barty next faces either Petra Kvitova, the Czech eighth seed, or Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands.

Britain's Johanna Konta saw off two-time Grand Slam champion and former world number one Victoria Azarenka, 6-3, 6-1, to move into the third round in a tie held over from Wednesday due to rain.

Konta will return to the court later Thursday to face fifth seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine for a place in the last-eight.

World number one and French Open champion Simona Halep was 3-4 down overnight to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia in her second-round tie. That will also be completed Thursday.

Results of the WTA tournament in Montreal on Thursday (x denotes seeded player):

Second round

Simona Halep (ROM x1) bt Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 7-6 (11/9), 4-6, 7-5

Venus Williams (USA x13) bt Sorana Cirstea (ROM) 7-6 (7/4), 6-4

Johanna Konta (GBR) bt Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 6-3, 6-1

Third round

Ashleigh Barty (AUS x15) bt Alize Cornet (FRA) 7-6 (7/3), 6-4

Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) bt Julia Goerges (GER x10) 6-3, 7-6 (7/2)

Sloane Stephens (USA x3) bt Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) 6-2, 7-5

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