Australian Jordan Thompson has had his run at the Sydney Tennis Classic cut short by big-serving American Reilly Opelka.
Opelka thrived in the humid Sydney conditions, consistently dictating points both on serve and on return to run out a 6-3, 6-2 winner in an hour and 18 minutes.
Veteran commentator Robbie Koenig said it best when he described Opelka’s performance as a “tactical masterclass from the back of the court.”
The World No. 25 had the better of the baseline exchanges and dropped just one first serve point for the match.
Thompson, on the other hand, struggled to find any consistency in an error-riddled performance on Ken Rosewall Arena.
The American will now face countryman and World No. 68 Brandon Nakashima in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
Earlier on Wednesday, No. 2 seed Garbine Muguruza and No. 7 seed Ons Jabeur both progressed to the quarterfinals on the back of straight-sets wins.
Muguruza fought off five set points against World No. 40 Ekaterina Alexandrova to progress to the quarterfinals behind a 6-1, 7-6(4) win in an hour and 26 minutes.
The Spaniard will face a familiar prospect in Russian Daria Kasatkina on Thursday after she defeated Elise Mertens 6-3, 6-4.
"We've played many times. I remember long matches, physical matches. I'm expecting a similar match," Muguruza said.
Arguably the form player of the women’s tour, Muguruza ended 2021 on a high with a win at the WTA Finals in Guadalajara. She will be seeded at No. 3 for next week’s Australian Open.
Jabeur opened proceedings on Ken Rosewall Arena and faced a stern test from 2019 Australian Open finalist Petra Kvitova.
27-year-old Jabeur was yet to win a set, let alone a match, against Kvitova from three previous meetings but that changed on Wednesday.
"Finally, after so many losses against her," Jabeur said post-match. "It's not easy to return those powerful shots, but I've been prepared, and I really wanted to win. So, I went for it.”
The Tunisian recovered from a break down in both sets to claim a 6-4, 6-4 victory in an hour and 22 minutes.
2021 was a breakout year for Jabeur, winning her maiden WTA singles title and earning a top-10 ranking for the first time.
Jabeur will now face No. 4 seed and close friend Anett Kontaveit for a spot in the semi-finals.