In a rematch of their US Open opening round epic, Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep collide Wednesday in Beijing. Sharapova, who leads Halep 7-0, advanced to the third round after consecutive three set wins over Anastasija Sevastova and then today Ekaterina Makarova.
Halep on Tuesday, earned a retirement 6-1, 2-1 victory over Magdalena Rybarikova who had to pull out of a match due to illness.
“You can take a little bit away from all the matches we’ve played in the past,” Sharapova said. “We know each other’s games very well. They’ve always been very challenging, tough, competitive, emotional.
“That’s why we play these tournaments, play these events. You have to get through them. Maybe these are not the type of matchups you expect earlier in a tournament, but this is what I have now. I love the challenge of playing against someone that’s No.2 in the world. She’s a great player. She’s had a great year. Any time you’re able to face an opponent that’s done something right and well, it’s great to see where you are and where your level is.”
Halep downplayed the matchup.
“I don’t have a special reaction,” Halep said. “It’s just another big challenge, nothing special. I played her many times, was close many times. Now it’s a new day and we’ll see. Maybe I can win. I really want to do it so tomorrow I will give everything.
“I should have served better to win that [US Open] match. I played pretty good, pretty well, and she played amazing. Physically I have to do better, serve better, move better and stay there – not think too much about the result, just the match.
“It’s different that it’s not the first round, it’s always tough to play the first match of the tournament but here we are in the third round, so maybe it’s going to be something different. But from my side I don’t feel anything different. I’m just ready to play it and to give everything I have to win it. And we will see.”
Also tomorrow, Agnieszka Radwanska clashes with Daria Kasatkina, Elina Svitolina battles Ash Barty in a matchup of former Slam winners, Sam Stosur takes on Jelena Ostapenko.
On Tuesday, Petra Kvitova and Sorana Cirstea were winners, and Daria Gavrilova got through when Coco Vandeweghe retired down 6-3, 3-2 with a
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