BRISBANE: World number six Elina Svitolina continued her charge at the Brisbane International as she eased past Croatia’s Ana Konjuh and into the quarter-finals with a 6-3 6-1 win on Wednesday. Third seed Svitolina struck 17 winners and saved four break points, dismissing the 20-year-old ranked 44 in just over an hour to set up a clash with Briton Johanna Konta. “It was a good match, and I was expecting a tough one against Ana today,” Svitolina said after beating the youngest player ranked inside the WTA’s top 50. “I’m happy with how I handled some of the tough shots she hit today.” Svitolina enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2017, winning titles in Taipei City, Dubai, Istanbul, Rome and Toronto, and is confident of a better showing in 2018. “Hopefully I’m improved. I’m trying to work hard and stay focussed on each match, to show my best tennis and challenge myself to go even higher and better,” she said. Former champion Kaia Kanepi, a winner in 2012, dominated her match against Lesia Tsurenko to seal a 6-4, 6-3 victory and a meeting against second seed Karolina Pliskova who dumped out American CiCi Bellis 6-1 6-1. Meanwhile, Aliaksandra Sasnovich sealed a comeback win over Kanepi’s Estonian compatriot Anett Kontaveit. The qualifier from Belarus, who swept aside Kristina Mladenovic in the first round, prevailed 1-6 7-6(2) 6-3 and faces Alize Cornet next.Published in Daily Times, January 4th 2018.