Monica Puig continued her winning run in New Haven to book a quarter-final showdown with No.2 seed Caroline Garcia.
The Rio Olympic Games gold medalist defeated Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit for her fifth straight victory, having come through qualifying.
“Anett is one of my best friends on tour so it’s tough to play a friend,” Puig told press after the match. “I just tried to focus on my game and it didn’t come out exactly the way I wanted at the beginning so I’m really happy to walk away with this win.
“I had an injury in the middle of the year and had to miss a couple of weeks so that got me down quite a bit. I’m happy to have regained confidence in my game and I just feel really good right now.”
Aryna Sabalenka ended defending champion Daria Gavrilova’s seven-match Connecticut Open winning streak late early on Wednesday evening, eking out a 6-3, 6-7(6), 7-5 victory.
“Well yeah absolutely it was a crazy match for sure,” Sabalenka said. “Now I’m in a little bit of shock I finished it on my side, but well now I’m so tired and so happy in one time.
“Every point I felt it was more crazy and crazy. I was so angry on myself and I thought you have to do it, you led 4-0, it’s just one way to finish the match.”
Having stormed back from 1-5 and set point down to serve for the second set, Sabalenka looked set to finish on one of those lights-out passages of momentum.
But the dogged Aussie, with her ability to counter-punch and turn defense into offense, broke to send the set to a tie-break.
A fifth set point went begging for Gavrilova on a double fault but she leveled the clash on her sixth opportunity when Sabalenka was drawn wide on a forehand pass.
With coach Dmitry Tursunov calming his explosive charge down after she saw the second set disappear, Sabalenka again went flat out, racing to 4-0.
“I look at him and he’s calm and I start to be calm,” Sabalenka said. “But today nothing works and I was calling him for the coaching and he was just like ‘Aryna you just have to be more calm on the court’ and I was like ‘What? What are you talking about?’
“He was like ‘OK, OK, just try to focus on your game’. And then it really helped me because I thought maybe I am aggressive too much and it worked.”
Gavrilova, though, has carved out a reputation on tour for giving nothing up cheaply and capitalized on a rising error count from her opponent to peg back level at 4-4.
Composed when it came to the crunch with the finish line in sight, Sabalenka closed out the win on a break of serve to set a quarter-final showdown with Swiss Belinda Bencic.
Earlier, Russian Ekaterina Makarova backed up her victory over No.4 seed Karolina Pliskova with a hard-fought, rain-interrupted 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova.
Makarova, coming off a doubles triumph in Cincinnati with Lucie Hradecka, will meet fifth seed Julia Goerges in her third quarter-final of 2018.
“The first set was very tough for me,” Makarova said. “She’s a tough opponent. She mixes it up so I needed to stay solid and not be in a rush, but there was too much rushing in the first set.
“Then I think this rain a little bit helped me because I calmed down and thought a little bit to understand what I have to do and then I started to enjoy the tennis again with the crowd.”
—K. Spellman, CT Open
CONNECTICUT OPEN – NEW HAVEN, USA
17-25 AUGUST 2018
A.Sabalenka d. (9) D.Gavrilova 6-3, 6-7 (6), 7-5
E.Makarova d. M.Rybarikova 2-6, 6-3, 6-3
[Q] M.Puig d. A Kontaveit 6-4, 6-3
 A.Sestini Hlavackov/B.Strycova d D.Jurak/R.Olaru 6-3, 6-3
 K.Bertens/J.Larsson d. M.Adamcak/O.Kalashnikova 6-3 6-4
ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, AUGUST 23, 2018
STADIUM start 1:00 pm
E. Makarova (RUS) vs  J. Goerges (GER)
[LL] B. Bencic (SUI) vs A. Sabalenka (BLR)
[Q] M. Puig (PUR) vs  C. Garcia (FRA)
Not Before 7:00 pm
C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) vs  P. Kvitova (CZE)
SPORTMASTER GRANDSTAND start 1:00 pm
S. Hsieh (TPE) / L. Siegemund (GER) vs L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / L. Kichenok (UKR)
 K. Bertens (NED) / J. Larsson (SWE) vs A. Rosolska (POL) / A. Spears (USA)