Halep, Kvitova, Osaka on song in Madrid
A star-studded line-up will contest the Madrid Open quarter-finals after a day for the favourites to savour.
Petra Kvitova and Simona Halep have each won two of the last four titles in the Spanish capital and both are still in the running in 2019.
But it is a stacked field, with world number one Naomi Osaka also in the mix at the event.
Halep enjoyed the most impressive result on Wednesday with a dominant double-bagel thrashing of Viktoria Kuzmova.
FAMILIAR FACES IN THE HUNT
Reigning champion Kvitova won her third Madrid Open title last year, beating Kiki Bertens in the final.
She will take on the Dutchwoman again in the last eight after defeating Caroline Garcia 6-3 6-3.
Halep was at her imperious best against world number 46 Kuzmova, dropping just 12 points in a 44-minute contest.
"I played nearly perfect," said a delighted Halep.
That could spell trouble for Ashleigh Barty, with the ninth seed next in line for Halep.
Barty needed three sets to get past Yulia Putintseva 4-6 6-1 6-2, while Bertens comfortably saw off Anastasija Sevastova 6-1 6-2.
OSAKA 'HAVING FUN AGAIN'
Top seed Osaka set up a clash with Belinda Bencic by defeating Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2 6-3.
But it was the way she felt on court that proved the main talking point afterwards.
She explained: "I'm at a really good place right now, and I don't know, I feel like I'm having fun playing tennis again, which is always a good thing for me and I always play well if I have that mentality."
Bencic, meanwhile, thrashed Kateryna Kozlova 6-0 6-2.
DOING IT HER SLOANE WAY
Sloane Stephens' progress was anything but serene as the American had to fight back from a set down to oust Zheng Saisai.
The 2018 French Open runner-up turned the tide after losing the opener to triumph 3-6 6-3 6-2.
Stephens, seeded eighth in Spain, will meet Petra Martic, who saw her compatriot Donna Vekic retire due to a right hip injury in the third set of their all-Croatian tie.