Van Uytvanck battles past Flipkens into Hiroshima quarterfinals

HIROSHIMA, Japan – No.3 seed Alison Van Uytvanck made her way to the quarterfinals of the Hana-cupid Japan Women’s Open with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory over compatriot Kirsten Flipkens in one hour 55 minutes.

A tight clash in this all-Belgian encounter was forecast after two of their previous three meetings went the distance, and the players did not disappoint as they produced a nail-biting match that was decided by fine margins.

Van Uytvanck raced to the opening set in just 29 minutes and moved a break up in the second, but Flipkens hit back by winning five of six games to square the match. The decider was similarly tough to predict as a succession of long games eventually fell the way of the seed to take the match, thanks largely to 30 winners.

There was little doubt about who was the dominant force in the formative stages as the WTA World No.63 picked up two early breaks to move into a 3-0 advantage. 

Although the opener would be swiftly concluded thanks to Van Uytvanck finding another break, it was not an entirely one-sided affair. 

Indeed, the 25-year-old faced break points in three of her four service games but crucially played well in these clutch moments, saving four of five.