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Rediff.com  » Sports » Tennis Roundup: Halep knocks out Sharapova, Ostapenko makes WTA Finals

Tennis Roundup: Halep knocks out Sharapova, Ostapenko makes WTA Finals

Last updated on: October 04, 2017 20:38 IST

Simona Halep

IMAGE: Simona Halep celebrates. Photograph: China Open/Twitter

World number two Simona Halep beat Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-2 in the China Open third round on Wednesday for her first win over the Russian in eight attempts.

Halep, who lost to Sharapova in the first round of the US Open, won five out of nine break points and took advantage of an error-prone display to hand the Russian her first straight-sets defeat of the season in one hour and 12 minutes.

Maria Sharapova

IMAGE: Maria Sharapova in action. Photograph: China Open/Twitter

Despite hitting more winners than her rival, Sharapova committed 39 unforced errors and struggled to contend with the second seed's power and aggression in Beijing.

The Romanian goes through to the quarter-finals where she will take on either 11th seed Agnieszka Radwanska or Daria Kasatkina, who face off later on Wednesday.

French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia took one step closer to qualifying for the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Australia's Samantha Stosur in round two.

Also advancing to the third round were China's Peng Shuai, who made short work of Romanian Monica Niculescu with a 6-3, 6-2 win, and Wuhan Open champion Caroline Garcia of France who overcame Belgian Elise Mertens 7-6(4), 6-4.

Dimitrov, Kyrgios storm into Beijing quarter-finals

Grigor Dimitrov powered past US Open semi-finalist Juan Martin del Potro 7-6(6), 7-5 to book his spot in the quarter-finals of the China Open on Wednesday.

Down a break and trailing 5-2 in the second set in Beijing, Dimitrov produced some of his best tennis to reel off the next five games for his second straight-sets victory over the big-serving Argentine this year.

The Bulgarian, who prevailed when the pair met on Cincinnati's hard courts in August, improved his head-to-head record against Del Potro to 2-5 and stayed in the hunt for a place in the season-ending ATP Tour Finals in London next month.

Earlier, Nick Kyrgios came from a set down to beat Mischa Zverev 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. The Australian unleashed 11 aces in the match lasting an hour and 22 minutes.

"I knew it was going to be tricky. He plays a pretty old school type of tennis... likes to come forward and play his style of tennis and he's had good success with it," Kyrgios said.

"I knew I had to find my feet and improve my first serve percentage in the second and third sets... just loosen up from the back to keep things on my terms. That's how it played out."

Up next for Kyrgios is Steve Darcis of Belgium, who overcame Serbia's Dusan Lajovic 6-3 6-4. Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut went through after Great Britain's Aljaz Bedene lost 10 games in a row before retiring with a knee problem.

French Open champion Ostapenko makes season-ending WTA Finals

French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko became the seventh player to qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore, the WTA said on Wednesday.

The Latvian, who will make her first appearance in the Oct. 22-29 event, joins Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina, Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki.

"I'm extremely happy to qualify for my very first WTA Finals," the 20-year-old said on the WTA website.

"I've had a great season and hope I can continue to play my best tennis in front of all the fans in Singapore."

Ostapenko, who is through to the third round of the China Open in Beijing, won the second of her two career titles at the Korea Open in Seoul last month.

The top eight singles players at the $7 million prize money event will face off in a round-robin format for the Billie Jean King Trophy.

One place is still available for the showpiece with Britain's Johanna Konta currently holding eighth place in the WTA Race to Singapore standings.

Konta, a reserve last year, has suffered five straight defeats, however, and several players could still overhaul her.

Divij Sharan in quarters, defeat for Yuki and Nagal

Divij Sharan was the only Indian surviving in the ATP Challenger tournament in Kaohsiung after reaching the doubles quarterfinals with Scott Lipsky while Sumit Nagal and Yuki Bhambri were knocked out in the singles first round.

Left-handed Sharan and his American partner, top seeds, outplayed the local wild card pair of Jui-Chen Hung and Cheng-Yu Yu 6-1, 6-4 in just 50 minutes.

They next face another local wild card pair of Yu Hsiou Lu and Tung-Lin Wu.

Sumit Nagal lost his first round 4-6, 2-6 to Romanian third seed Marius Copil while Yuki lost 3-6, 3-6 to Australian John Millman.

The Indian pair of Vishnu Vardhan and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan lost their first round 2-6, 4-6 to second seeded team of America's James Cerretani and Australia's Marc Polmans.

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