Updated 8:44 AM EDT, Wed, Aug 18, 2021

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Kremlin Cup: Irina-Camelia Begu Upsets Ekaterina Makarova to Advance to the Quarterfinals

Irina-Camelia Begu upset second seeded Ekaterina Makarova to advance to the quarterfinals of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, Russia

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 Irina-Camelia Begu upset second seeded Ekaterina Makarova to advance to the quarterfinals of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, Russia on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old Romanian converted three of nine break point opportunities to defeat the home town favorite 6-4 6-4 in an hour and 48 minutes.

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Begu will face the winner of the matchup between Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria and Serbian wild card entry Aleksandra Krunik who ousted eighth seeded Caroline Garcia of France in the opening rounds.

Fourth seeded Lucie Safarova narrowly escaped the first set in her opening match against Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia 7(7)-6(4) 6-2.

Safarova, 27, saved all seven break points she saved and converted 15 service aces to outlast the Croatian in an hour and 30 minutes.

The Czech will go up against fifth seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia in the quarterfinals.

Kateryna Kozlova, who is only 20 years old, gave the World No. 21 a hard time as Kuznetsova had to come back from a set down to win her match against the Ukrainian qualifier 3-6 6-3 6-3 in a match that lasted two hours and 41 minutes.

"I think she played well," Kuznetsova said. "I don't know if it's her usual level. She had nothing to lose. She will be in top-50 quite soon."

Recent Generali Ladies Linz champion and seventh seeded Karolina Pliskova lost her opening round to Kristina Mladenovic of France.

The Frenchwoman dished out 10 services aces and broke the Czech three times to win the match 6-3 7-5 in an hour and 11 minutes.

Alison Riske of the United States also saw action Wednesday, defeating Russian qualifier Darya Kasatkina in straight sets 6-1 6-2.

Riske will have a go at sixth seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second round.

Simona Halep is the defending champion but chose not to participate this year in lieu of her preparations for the prestigious season-ending WTA Finals next week to be held in Singapore.

The 2011 champion Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia is top seeded in the tournament and will play Russian qualifier Vitalia Diatchenko in her opening match scheduled on Thursday.

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