| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo credit: Brian Coleman

American qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands made her way into the China Open quarterfinals on Thursday, hanging on to beat 15th-seeded Italian and U.S. Open finalist Roberta Vinci, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2.

Mattek-Sands saved seven of the 10 break points she faced and converted on six break points of her own to outlast Vinci.

Up next for the 30-year-old American is fifth-seeded Spaniard Garbine Muguruza. The Wimbledon finalist came back from a set down to beat Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 1-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Lucic-Baroni dominated the first set, racing out to a 3-0 lead before closing it out on her first set point. But an early break in the second gave Muguruza momentum and she never looked back, winning 12 of the final 15 games to move on.

“I was so concentrated during the match—I really had all types of emotions,” said Muguruza. “I wanted to win bad and it was tough. I’m really happy. It was a great gift today. I’m pretty motivated to continue here and achieve another great result in Beijing. Right now I’m just very happy to be able to be one of the eight players this year. I think it’s one of the goals in tennis. There are bigger goals, but it’s a really big one.”

With the win, Muguruza has clinched a spot in the WTA Finals in Singapore.

U.S. Open champion Flavia Pennetta was sent packing in Beijing on Thursday, as Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova came back from a set down to beat the third-seeded Italian 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 and reach the China Open quarterfinals.

Pennetta had a chance to serve to stay in the second set, but a couple of errors gave Pavlyuchenkova the set. In the deciding third, the Russian jumped out to a 3-0 lead and would not relinquish that lead, closing Pennetta out in just under two hours.

Pavlyuchenkova will take on sixth-seeded Serb Ana Ivanovic, who hung on to beat Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to book her spot in the quarterfinals.

Ivanovic coughed up a couple of match points in the final set, but broke in the final game to close out Kuznetsova, whom she is now 11-3 against in her career.