2nd-seeded Elise Mertens advances to Hobart quarterfinals

Elise Mertens, of Belgium. (Julio Cortez/AP)

HOBART, Australia — Defending champion Elise Mertens beat Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-4, 6-4 on Tuesday to advance the Hobart International quarterfinals.

Mertens came from qualifying and No. 127 in the world in the 2017 Hobart event to win the title. She’ll next meet last year’s runner-up Monica Niculescu or American Varvara Lepchenko for a semifinal berth.

Mertens is the only seeded player left in her half of the draw and one of just three remaining in the tournament.

Sixth-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu and eighth-seeded Katerina Siniakova on Tuesday joined fourth-seeded Alize Cornet and No. 3-seeded Sorana Cirstea as opening-round losers.

Mertens has been joined in the quarterfinals by Mihaela Muzarnescu, who beat Anna-Lena Friedsam 7-5 6-4 in the second round.

In first-round matches, American Alison Riske beat Siniakova 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 while Niculescu defeated Begu 6-3, 6-2.

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