Barty charges into quarter-finals after dominant win
AUSTRALIAN No.1 Ashleigh Barty has become the first player to reach the women's quarter-finals at the Canadian Open, downing Alize Cornet in the Round of 16.
Barty hit six aces to overcome the world No.34 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 in one hour and 47 minutes in Montreal on Thursday.
In their only previous meeting, Cornet had beaten Barty in straight sets in the opening round of the 2014 French Open.
The Frenchwoman stunned Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber 6-4 6-1 in her previous match in Canada on Wednesday.
Cornet also tested Barty on Thursday, with the Australian having to break her four times and close out a first-set tiebreak.
The second set was much more straightforward for Barty, who will face Belgian world No.18 Kiki Bertens in the quarters.
Meanwhile, Simona Halep ground out a 7-6(9) 4-6 7-5 win over Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to set up a third-round clash with Williams.
Halep, whose match began on Wednesday but was halted because of rain with Pavlyuchenkova ahead 4-3, returned on Thursday to close out a three-hour battle during which she required treatment for what appeared to be blisters on the bottom of her right foot.
The Romanian world No.1 will have a quick turnaround as she is set to cap the evening session with a battle against seven-time Grand Slam winner Williams, who will also not be fully rested after beating Sorana Cirstea 7-6(4) 6-4 in a match that was postponed from Wednesday.
"I'm little bit dead, to be honest. It's a long time since I played my last match at Wimbledon. I will try to do my best to recover and fight next match," Halep said in her on-court interview.
"She's a champion and it's always difficult to play against her. On hard courts, it's more difficult. I will try to enjoy it and to have a nice atmosphere again." Johanna Konta, who was leading former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka 6-3 3-0 on Wednesday before rain forced an overnight delay, returned to wrap up the match 6-3 6-1.
Up next for the British number one will be a clash with defending champion Elina Svitolina.
US Open champion Sloane Stephens, the third seed, beat Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2 7-5 to book her spot in the quarter-finals, where she will face Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova, a 6-3 7-6(2) winner over German 10th seed Julia Goerges.