Thiem and Halep cruise to vic­tory

Muscat Daily - - SPORTS -

Wash­ing­ton, US - Top seeds Do­minic Thiem and Si­mona Halep cruised into the round of 16 at the ATP and WTA Citi Open with straight-set tri­umphs on Tues­day at the US Open tune-up event.

Aus­tria's sev­enth-ranked Thiem, a French Open semi­fi­nal­ist in June, waited out a rain de­lay then needed only 63 min­utes to dis­patch 96th-ranked Swiss Henri Laak­so­nen 6-3, 6-3.

"It wasn't easy but I'm pretty happy with my per­for­mance," Thiem said.

"It was my first match on hard­court since Mi­ami (in March) and that's al­ways a lit­tle tricky."

World No 2 Halep, this year's French Open run­ner-up, took only 79 min­utes to oust US wild­card Sloane Stephens 7-6, 6-0.

"It was a tough first set. I was miss­ing a lit­tle bit too much and she made some shots," Halep said. "Didn't have the rhythm at the be­gin­ning, but I feel bet­ter now."

"I don't have a lack of con­fi­dence but it's al­ways nice to get that first win," Thiem said.

This marks the big­gest event where Thiem has been top seeded, but his four near­est rank­ings ri­vals are also in the field - Ger­many's Alexan­der Zverev, Ja­pan's Kei Nishikori, Canada's Mi­los Raonic and Bul­gar­ian Grigor Dim­itrov.

"I think there are five or six play­ers to beat," Thiem said. "There should be four or five top seeds. I'm one of them."

But Thiem faces a pos­si­ble third-round match on Thurs­day against South Africa's Kevin An­der­son, who has beaten him in all five of their ca­reer meet-

ings, all on hard­court and with Thiem tak­ing only one set.

Se­cond-seeded Nishikori turned back the de­ter­mined chal­lenge of Amer­i­can Don­ald Young 6-3, 4-6, 7-6.

Nishikori, seek­ing his first ti­tle of 2017, didn't face a break point in the third set, but he couldn't con­vert any of his eight break

chances as Young forced the tiebreaker.

Nishikori fi­nally sealed the win on his sixth match point af­ter two hours and 25 min­utes and with the clock tick­ing to­ward 2 am.

Halep passes first test

Halep will next face Colom­bia's 115th-ranked Mar­i­ana Duque-Marino for a quar­ter­fi­nal berth as the 25 year old Ro­ma­nian keeps her fo­cus on build­ing her game for the US Open that starts on Au­gust 28 in New York.

"For first match on hard­courts, it wasn't that bad," Halep said. "My serve wasn't the best but I was OK. Ev­ery­thing went well. I can't say I have to ad­just some­thing.

"It was im­por­tant to­day."

Other re­sults (x de­notes seed­ing): Men se­cond round: Jack Sock (x8) beat Mar­ius Copil 7-6, 7-6; Juan Martin Del Potro (x13) beat Lukas Lacko 7-5, 6-2; Guido Pella beat Mis­cha Zverev I won (x12) 6-7, 7-6, 6-3.

Women first round: Eka­te­rina Makarova (x7) beat Jamie Loeb 7-6, 6-3.

Stan­ford re­sults: First round: CoCo Van­deweghe (x6) beat Ajla Toml­janovic 6-2, 0-0 retd; CiCi Bel­lis (x8) beat Al­ize Cor­net 6-3, 6-2.

(AFP)

Do­minic Thiem serves to Henri Laak­so­nen in Wash­ing­ton, US, on Tues­day

Si­mona Halep hits a back­hand re­turn against Sloane Stephens dur­ing their match on Tues­day

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