Former French Open champion Simona Halep opener her 2021 clay campaign with a good 6-1, 6-3 win in under an hour over former French finalist Marketa Vondrousova in the second round in Stuttgart.
“Starting the clay court season makes me very happy and motivated, extra motivated actually,” said Halep who was 0-2 against the Czech. “I missed playing matches. I had a few weeks without an official match and it was kind of tough when I started the match, but my mind was strong enough just to give focus on what I have to play. So, I did it great and today, it was a great match.”
Halep will now face Ekatarina Alexandrova in the quarterfinals. Alexandrova upended Belinda Bencic 6-1, 7-5.
Elina Svitolina beat Angelique Kerber for a seventh straight time with a 7-6(4), 6-3 victory. The win sets up a huge showdown tomorrow in the quarterfinals against Petra Kvitova.
Former champion Karolina Pliskova smacked 21 aces to help get past former French winner Jelena Ostapenko 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-3.
“I did many things today much better than I did yesterday,” said Pliskova after the win. “I’m proud of myself that I’m able to change that performance in a day. I felt I played really good tennis today – also, she played a really good match. We know that we can really have a lot of unforced errors, which was not the case today.
“For some reason she likes to play me, I think, so she’s always playing really good tennis against me. But it was a great level and I thought I was serving extremely well today for all the match – all the three sets, even though the first set was a bit unlucky.”
Pliskova now will Ash Barty on Friday in a battle of No. 1s. Barty leads 4-2 but the two have never played on the clay.
Aryna Sabalenka eased past Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-4, 6-2. She’ll now meet Anett Kontaveit on Friday.
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