Elise Mertens stuns two-time Madrid Open champion Simona Halep in the third round
Elise Mertens knocked out two-time Madrid Open champion Simona Halep in the third round in the Spanish capital.
Third seed Halep won the title at the Caja Magica in 2016 and 2017 and was a finalist again the last time the tournament was held in 2019 but she was eventually worn down by the dogged defence of Mertens.
The Belgian was a set down and appeared to be on the back foot in both the second and third sets but eventually battled to a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 victory after two hours and 34 minutes.
A first #MMOPEN quarterfinal for the Belgian!
— wta (@WTA) May 4, 2021
Halep said: “She played really well, and she definitely deserved to win because she was stronger in the end. I cannot say I played bad, but I did some mistakes, important mistakes. Sometimes it’s just a little bit and the match is going away.”
In the quarter-finals, Mertens will play fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka, who eased to a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Jessica Pegula.
Meanwhile, former Wimbledon semi-finalist and doubles champion Barbora Strycova has announced her retirement.
— Barbora Strycova (@BaraStrycova) May 4, 2021
The Czech, who reached the last four at the All England Club in 2019 and won the women’s doubles title with Hsieh Su-wei, is pregnant with her first child.
Strycova wrote on social media: “Some moments in life just can’t be planned and I am super excited for my next life role as a mom. It doesn’t mean that I will accept that fact that I didn’t play my last match in front of an audience. Once it’s possible, I will play one last match.. in front of you. To say proper goodbye.”
The 35-year-old’s last appearance was at the Australian Open in February, where she lost in the first round of the singles and the second round of the doubles.
Mayar Sherif stuns Maria Sakkari to become first Egyptian WTA champion
Mayar Sherif makes history.
Japan Open: Cameron Norrie draws Special Ks Thanasi Kokkinakis
Cameron Norrie is the No 2 seed for the Japan Open.
ATP rankings history to be made as race for year-end No 1 heats up
For the first time in history, two Spaniards will top the ATP rankings when the updated numbers are released on Monday.
Florida-based Kei Nishikori confirms safety and plans to get back on tour
Kei Nishikori is safe and sound amid Hurricane Ian destruction.
Race to Turin: Stefanos Tsitsipas becomes fourth man to qualify
Stefanos Tsitsipas joins Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud in the Turin field.
Novak Djokovic downs ‘good friend’ Vasek Pospisil to reach Tel Aviv semi-finals
Djokovic came through a competitive contest 7-6 (5) 6-3 in Israel.
What Nick Kyrgios needs to do to compete on the ATP Tour
Greg Rusedski believes Nick Kyrgios would be better off focusing on things that he can control, like his own fitness.
Huge weekend ahead for padel as Andy Murray’s former coach gives us his verdict
The relentless rise of padel continues and…
Will Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner share a generational rivalry?
Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner just keep having banger after banger after banger.