Halep wins on re­turn in Qatar

Kuwait Times - - Sports -

DOHA: World num­ber two Si­mona Halep won on her re­turn to com­pet­i­tive ac­tion since los­ing the Aus­tralian Open fi­nal, beat­ing Eka­te­rina Makarova in straight sets in the Qatar Open yes­ter­day.

Halep eased through 6-3, 6-0 against the Rus­sian, in a sec­ond round match she re­ceived a first round bye-but ad­mit­ted af­ter­wards she was still anx­ious about an an­kle in­jury which has stopped her from play­ing since Mel­bourne. Also win­ning con­vinc­ingly was the woman who de­feated Halep in Mel­bourne, Caro­line Woz­ni­acki who blitzed Ger­many’s Ca­rina Wit­thoeft, 6-2, 6-0 in just 57 min­utes.

But it was Halep’s an­kle which was re­ceiv­ing most at­ten­tion af­ter­wards. The Ro­ma­nian said she would as­sess that in­jury match-by-match and ad­mit­ted she would take the “best de­ci­sion” for her health if the an­kle wors­ened.

“An­kle is okay. The foot is still painful,” she said af­ter­wards. Halep faces Lat­vian Anas­tasija Sev­as­tova to­day and asked if she will def­i­nitely play, she re­sponded: “For sure, yeah. And I will try to fin­ish the match.

“I started al­ready to talk too much about this in­jury, it’s just a prob­lem with my foot. “The doc­tor said that noth­ing can hap­pen like worse to break some­thing. “But still when I will feel stronger pain, I think I will just think-I will dou­ble think about it and I will take the best de­ci­sion.”

The in­jury also forced her out of Ro­ma­nia’s Fed Cup tie with Canada last week­end. Halep raced to a 5-1 lead in her first set be­fore Makarova, the world num­ber 36, showed some de­fi­ance by break­ing the Ro­ma­nian’s serve and threat­en­ing a comeback.

Halep, who hit 13 win­ners, then ral­lied and stormed through the sec­ond set with­out los­ing a game. The Ro­ma­nian has the pos­si­bil­ity of re­claim­ing the world’s top ranking from Woz­ni­acki this week if she reaches at least the quar­ter-fi­nals and goes one round fur­ther than the Dane.

But Woz­ni­acki car­ried on the great form which saw her lift her first Grand Slam ti­tle last month, not giv­ing Wit­thoeft a chance, and hit­ting 18 win­ners. Woz­ni­acki also has her own rea­sons for do­ing well in Doha.

If she gets to the semi-fi­nal, she will be­come just the fourth player in his­tory to pass £30 mil­lion in prize money. The high-qual­ity field in the Gulf fea­tures nine of the top ten play­ers in the world and sev­eral just out­side those rank­ings.

With few shocks so far, the re­main­ing few days in Doha could wit­ness some heavy­weight con­tests.

Also through to the third round are world num­ber 11, Bri­tain’s Jo­hanna Konta and a resur­gent Pe­tra Kvi­tova. Konta won 6-2, 6-2 against a for­mer Qatar Open win­ner, Carla Suarez Navarro.

And Kvi­tova bat­tled back from a set down to beat Poland’s Ag­nieszka Rad­wan­ska 6-7 (3/7), 63, 6-4. “I have no idea, first of all, how I turned it around. I felt pretty ex­hausted,” said the dou­ble Wim­ble­don cham­pion. —


DOHA: Ro­ma­nian ten­nis player Si­mona Halep re­turns the ball to Rus­sian player Eka­te­rina Makarova as they com­pete in their sin­gles match dur­ing the sec­ond round of the Qatar Open ten­nis com­pe­ti­tion in Doha yes­ter­day.

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