Top-seeded Ashleigh Barty survived a major scare to reach the quarterfinals of the Western & Southern Open near Cincinnati.

The 23-year-old Australian was two points from losing in the third set Thursday before rallying for a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 win over Estonia's Anett Kontaveit in Mason, Ohio.

Kontaveit served for the match at 5-4 in the third set, and the game went to 30-30 before Barty took three of the next four points. Barty then held serve and got a service break to close out the match.

Last week, Barty lost her opening match in the Rogers Cup at Toronto, and she fell to No. 2 in the world ranking this week.

Next up, Barty will oppose Greece's Maria Sakkari, who upset ninth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4.

Sakkari said of going up against Barty, "It's very tough to compare myself with Ashleigh because for me -- and I said this last year in Indian Wells when I beat her -- Ashleigh is the best player on the WTA tour. At that time, she was only Top 20, so I'm glad that I said the truth a little bit earlier than most other people. It's a compliment to say that my game looks like hers."

Barty returned the compliment.

"Maria is an incredible chick," she said. "She's really one of my better friends on tour. She's a lovely girl. I don't think you can find anyone in the locker room that has a bad word to say about her."

As for their upcoming battle, Barty said, "I think these conditions suit Maria when she can use her kick serve, use her forehand when she has time. I think that's the challenge for me (Friday), is to go out there and try and nullify that serve as best that I can and try and be on top of some points."

Second-seeded Naomi Osaka emerged on top Thursday, but she was pushed to three sets for the second match in a row before outlasting Taiwan's Su-Wei Hsieh 7-6 (3), 5-7, 6-2.

Third-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic got past Sweden's Rebecca Peterson 7-5, 6-4. Her quarterfinal opponent will be Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova, who routed the United States' Sloane Stephens 6-1, 6-2.

In the only match of the day featuring two unseeded players, the United States' Venus Williams overtook Croatia's Donna Vekic 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. Williams, 39, is into her fourth quarterfinal of the year, but she has yet to make a semifinal appearance.

Williams will face another American, Madison Keys, in the quarterfinals. Keys, the 16th seed, eliminated fourth-seeded Simona Halep of Romania 6-1, 3-6, 7-5. Halep produced 15 break points but converted just four of them. Keys was 6 of 13 on her break chances.

Osaka's quarterfinal foe will be American Sofia Kenin, who upset seventh-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-3, 7-6 (3). Kenin squandered a match point while serving at 5-4 in the second set, but she later jumped to a 5-1 lead in the tiebreaker and closed out the win.

--Field Level Media

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