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By Adrianna Outlaw | Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Dominika Cibulkova

Dominika Cibulkova rallied past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on a day in which Victoria Azarenka withdrew and reigning champion Petra Kvitova fell at the Madrid Open.

Photo credit: Christopher Levy

Deficits are springboards for Dominika Cibulkova's comeback leaps.

For the second straight match, Cibulkova roared back from a one-set deficit to prevail in Madrid.

Watch: Azarenka Withdraws, Kvitova Falls

The former Australian Open finalist showed her resilience rallying for a 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to advance to the Madrid Open quarterfinals.

It was Cibulkova's eighth win in her last nine matches.

Daria Gavrilova knocked off reigning champion Petra Kvitova, 6-3, 6-4, nearly four months after she swept the two-time Wimbledon champion in the Australian Open. Today's loss could cost Kvitova her Top 10 spot.

Former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka withdrew from her scheduled round of 16 match with a lower back injury. Azarenka's departure sends American qualifier Louisa Chirico into the quarterfinals against Gavrilova.

Romanian wild card Sorana Cirstea, who broke serve five times in a 6-4, 7-6 (9) triumph over Stuttgart finalist Laura Siegemund, will face Cibulkova for a semifinal spot.

The 38th-ranked Cibulkova opened the tournament toppling top-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska. She dropped nine consecutive games before roaring back for an 0-6, 6-3, 6-4 triumph over Caroline Garcia yesterday.

Romanian women ruled the red clay today as three Romanians made the last eight at the tournament owned by former Romanian ATP pro Ion Tiriac.

By the time the dust settled the only seed still standing was former finalist Simona Halep.

"It's a Romanian tournament, I can say. Because of the owner as well," Halep said with a smile. "I feel like home here.  I feel good always. I have great memories from 2014. I just try to make it best tournament for myself. I try just to enjoy it, because I like it very much.

"Of course many Romanians are on the draw and they keep winning.  It's a good thing for our country. It's a big tournament, and I think this tournament means a lot for everyone in particular."

The sixth-seeded Halep defeated 10th-seeded Swiss Timea Bacsinszky, 6-2, 6-3, avenging her Miami loss to the Swiss in March.

Halep will face compatriot Irina-Camelia Begu in an all-Romanian quarterfinal. Begu stormed back from a set and a break down to beat American Christina McHale, 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-4. Begu backed up her three-set win over third-seeded Spaniard Garbine Muguruza in the second round.

"I expect a tough match. She plays well on clay," Halep said of Begu. "I think last year she did quarterfinals here, so means that she likes the court.

"I know her pretty well, since long time ago, but official we didn't play too many matches. It's a big challenge for me tomorrow.  I just want to repeat my memories from 2014 and that's it. I expect a tough one. I expect that I have the chance to win."

Former US Open champion Samantha Stosur stopped eighth-seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro, who was bothered by illness, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. The 2010 Roland Garros runner-up will play either Madison Keys or Romanian qualifier Patricia Maria Tig in the quarterfinals.


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