Simona Halep cruises past Barbora Strycova in her opening match at Indian Wells - UBITENNIS
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Simona Halep cruises past Barbora Strycova in her opening match at Indian Wells



World Number 2 and 2015 champion Simona Halep cruised past Barbora Strycova 6-2 6-4 in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells to keep her unbeaten record against the Czech player.


Halep has improved her win-loss record against Strycova to 5-0 in their five head-to-head matches.

The Romanian star hit 18 winners to Stycova’s eight and converted six of her eleven break points.

Halep got an early break in the second game of the opening set to take a 2-0 lead. Strycova broke straight back in the third game to get back on serve for 1-2. Halep claimed another break on her third chance after a long sixth game with a crosscourt backhand winner to open up a 4-2 lead.

Halep held her serve for 5-2 before earning three set points with a return winner on Strycova’s serve. The Czech player saved the first chance with her serve, but Halep sealed her second break point by forcing an error with her forehand.

Halep earned her first break of the second set in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead. After four consecutive breaks of serve Strycova held her serve with a volley to draw level to 4-4. Halep came back from 0-30 down by hitting three consecutive service winners to hold her serve for 5-4. Strycova came back from 0-30 to 30-30 when she was was serving to stay in the match in the 10th game. Halep earned a match point with a forehand error from Strycova. The Romanian player did not convert her chance, when she netted a forehand. Strycova made a forehand error to face a second match point. Halep sealed the win when Strycova made a forehand error.

“It was really difficult in the end. It was not easy to play, but I felt good. For both of us, there were tough conditions, so I didn’t think that much about it. I think I played good tennis, and for the first match here, I am happy about it. Today I was focused on what I have to do, and I knew how to play against her. We played so many times. I knew that I have to work for the match, that I have to be ready to run. So I think it was good”, said Halep.

Halep will face Ukrainian qualifier Kateryna Kozlova, who edged past Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-4 2-6 6-0.

Canadian 18-year-old Bianca Andreescu faced just one break point in her 6-2 6-2 win over 2016 WTA Finals champion Dominika Cibulova 6-2 6-2.

Former Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza never faced a break point and converted four of her 14 break points in her 6-1 6-3 win over Lauren Davis.

Elise Mertens saved eight of the nine break points and broke four times to defeat 17-year-old US player Amanda Anisimova 6-2 6-4 after 1 hour and 19 minutes.


Madison Keys Marches Into Cincinnati Final With Win Over Kenin

Madison Keys set up a intriguing final against Svetlana Kuznetsova with an excellent straight-sets win over Sofia Kenin in the semi-finals.



Madison Keys (@CincyTennis on Twitter)

Madison Keys advanced to her ninth career final with an impressive 7-5 6-4 win over Sofia Kenin at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.


The American, 24, has endured a patchy year on the WTA tour. But she found a rich vein of form in the early rounds to defeat Garbine Muguruza, Daria Kasatkina and Wimbledon champion Simona Halep.

And by the time Keys set about dispatching Venus Williams in straight sets in the quarter-final, she looked full of confidence.

The World No.18 started in similar fashion against Kenin. She dominated her first two service games and broke the younger American in the fourth game to establish a 3-1 lead. She then held off a couple of break points in game five to increase her advantage to 4-1.

But Kenin is a fighter and she had no intention of giving up on the set. She broke Keys in game nine to make it 5-4 and then saved two break points to level the score.

The older American did not panic. She held serve comfortably and then hit a couple of excellent winners to break the 20-year-old for the second time in the set and take it 7-5.

Keys triumphs in close second set

There were a few momentum swings in the second set. Keys held to love in the first game but dropped her serve during a sloppy third game. Kenin then consolidated the break with a comfortable hold.

In response, the World No.18 fired down three aces as she held serve to love in just 42 seconds. She then unleashed a stream of winners to break the younger American and level the score at 3-3.

Both women played superb return games as they traded breaks to move the score along to 4-4. Then Keys unleashed a series of ferocious groundstrokes to repel a break point and hold for 5-4.

After an intense conversation with her father at the changeover, Kenin looked a bit subdued in game ten. She sent down a weak second serve on the second point which was punished by a backhand winner from the World No.18.

The 20-year-old made a double-fault to slip 15-30 behind. Then she came into the net and could only watch and admire as Keys guided a sublime backhand pass into the opposite service box for a winner that set up two match points.

The World No.18 did not have to wait long to celebrate victory, as an unforced error from Kenin on the next point sealed her win.

Keys will play Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final. The Russian continued her impressive week with an eye-catching 6-2 6-4 win over World No.2 Ashleigh Barty.

“I’m very happy to be in the final,” the American said. “Sveta has been playing incredibly well. She is a craftier player with a little bit of everything. It will be a pretty difficult match but I’m looking forward to it.”

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Madison Keys sets up an all-American semifinal against Sofia Kenin in Cincinnati



Madison Keys hit 32 winners and never dropped her serve in her 6-2 6-3 win over Venus Williams in 77 minutes in an all-American quarter final at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach her first semifinal since winning the Volvo Car Open title in Charleston.


Keys broke three times and faced just two break points in the match. She earned her first break in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead, as Venus made three double faults. Keys went up a double break at 15 to seal the first set 6-3.

Williams saved four break points to hold her serve in the fourth game for 2-2, after hitting her first winner of the match, but Keys sealed the win with her only break in the eighth game of the second set and a hold at love setting up an all-American semifinal clash against Sofia Kenin

“It was nice to see against a really aggressive player like Venus being able to defend as well as I did. Overall, I am pretty happy with almost everything I did tonight. I am happy with how well I served. She is a very good returner, and being able to have fairly straightforward service games was my favourite part. The biggest thing, after having a couple of tough losses in the last tournaments I have played, being able to bounce back, and especially after my first round here, being able to get that win and then just building on that”,said Keys.


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Svetlana Kuznetsova completes her come-back by reaching the semifinal in Cincinnati



Two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova came back from one set down to beat Karolina Pliskova 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 to secure her spot in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.


Kuznetsova, who was sidelined by a knee injury in the first half of the season, bounced back last week when she reached the third round at the Rogers Cup in Toronto. She beat Anastasija Sevastova, Dayana Yastremska and Sloane Stephens en route to the semifinal.

Kuznetsova hit 30 winners and broke three times to close out the match after 2 hours and 23 minutes.

Pliskova converted her only break point at love in the second game to win the opening set 6-3.

Pliskova saved three break points to hold serve at deuce in the fourth game before breaking serve at 15 to take a 4-3 lead. Kuznetsova broke back at 15 in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. Kuznetsova earned four set points and converted her first chance to seal the tie-break 7-2.

Kuznetsova went up a break at love in the third game of the decisive set to take a 2-1 lead. Both Pliskova and Kuznetsova saved two break points in the fifth and sixth games. Kuznetsova sealed the win with a double break in the ninth game.

The Russian player set up a semifinal against 2019 Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty, who came back from one set down to beat Maria Sakkari 5-7 6-2 6-0.



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