Top-seeded Simona Halep, the ironwoman of the WTA tour over the last couple weeks, won two matches on Friday to move into the semifinals at the Western & Southern Open.
The Romanian beat No. 15 Ashleigh Barty 7-5, 6-4 earlier in the day, then in the evening beat the Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 6-1.
“It was a tough day,” said Halep, who trailed Tsurenka 1-4, 0-40 before winning the next five games. “I’m really tired. But I’m happy that I could win both of them. And the second one I think it was much better from 1-4, and, yeah, I feel confident now. I started to feel the game. After I won Montreal, I said that I want to come here to win some more matches, because after winning a title is always the feeling that ‘Let’s do more.’”
Halep in the Saturday semis will meet Aryna Sabalenka who upset No. 13 Madison Keys 6-3, 6-4.
“You know, doesn’t matter against whom you play,” the 20-year-old Sabalenka said. “I understand right now. It’s just like, you have to come on the court and play and don’t think about top players or this is not seeded players. Just, like, come and show people your best. It’s enough.”
Unseeded Kiki Bertens and No. 5 Elena Svitolina also doubled-up in matches on Thursday. Kertens beat Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, then came back and upset Svitolina 6-4, 6-3. Svitolina earlier in the day ended the run of American team wildcard Amanda Anisimova 6-4, 6-4.
“I never did so well in the hardcourt season, over the last few years I didn’t win many matches, so it was just like coming here, trying to play as many matches as I could,” Bertens said. “Last week I had a few, and now I’m even doing better. So I’m really happy that I can play so many matches…I think also the movement is much better. I’m much fitter and I can reach more balls, so I think that’s also helping a lot. So I think it’s a combination of a lot of things.”
Bertens in the semis will face No. 8 Petra Kvitova, who advanced when she fought past No. 15 Elise Mertens 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.
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