Simona Halep rallied from behind after giving up the first set to Ekaterina Alexandrova on Wednesday to advance to the third round in Ohio at the Western & Southern Open.
Halep, who has been battling pain in her left foot, pulled off the win with a strong second and third set ending the match 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. Seeded fourth in the world, Simona Halep, who had exited the Rogers Cup due to problems with her left Achilles, began the first set gingerly and that resulted in her giving up the first set. Speaking of the pain, she had experienced last week, and on playing on Wednesday, Halep said,
“You are a bit scared, but I think I played much better in the end.”
After going out in the lead during the third set, Halep had to fight off two third set break points before breaking Alexandrova and riding to victory. Speaking of the challenge, Halap stated,
“I felt slowly that I’m feeling good and I have no pain. I got the confidence game by game, even if she was leading me.”
Maria Sharapova continues to have a hard time since having to exit Wimbledon with an injury to her forearm and was eliminated in the second round by No.1 seeded Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-1. Sharapova, who also struggled at the Rogers Cup going out in the first round, showed no signs of discomfort but clearly was off her game from having not played much due to the injury suffered at Wimbledon. Speaking to the media post-match, Sharapova said,
“I have sat in this chair a few times where I haven’t finished the match, or I feel like I have a long road ahead of me in terms of recovery with the body, so, yeah, that’s a positive, but there’s definitely the repetition, just the feeling of being in a match. It’s very different.”
In other news, No. 2 seeded Naomi Osaka defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-6, 2-6, 6-2 to advance to the third round. Seen as a rematch of their match at the U.S. Open last year, Sasnovich was able to shorten the gap between the two winning the second set before faltering in the third. In men’s tennis, a number of upsets saw only four qualifiers advancing to the round of 16. This is only the third time in the ATP series that this has occurred, with the others taking place in 1990, 2001 and 2005. Rafael Nadal withdrew prior to the tournament starting due to fatigue, and Kei Nishikori, seeded 6th, was eliminated by Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka. Commenting, Nishikori stated,
“I was so excited to play with him because he’s the hero of Japanese tennis, most of the Asian tennis, so I was very excited to play. I couldn’t sleep yesterday, you know.”
Also advancing in the men’s competition was Andrey Rublev and Miomir Kecmanovic as well as Andrey Rublev and Pablo Carreno Busta after he succeeded in his match against John Isner. Third round Western & Southern Open action will begin on Thursday and Friday before the quarterfinals get underway.