Simona Halep stays top after Caroline Wozniacki crashes out


Simona Halep remains on course to win a third Madrid Open while her rival for the world No 1 title Caroline Wozniacki was sent packing.

The defending champion claimed a routine 6-1, 6-4 win over the qualifier Kristyna Pliskova in an hour and 15 minutes to take her unbeaten run at Caja Magica to 15 matches.

“I’m really happy I could finish that second set,” Halep said. “It’s always tough to play against the [Pliskova] sisters. I always said that, because they have a strong serve. They can hit the ball very strong. So it’s a very good win for me.”

She will face Kristyna’s twin sister Karolina in the last eight after the sixth seed beat US Open champion Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-2.

With world No 2 Wozniacki losing in the third round, it means the Romanian will retain top spot in the rankings.

Australian Open champion Wozniacki was never really in it as she went down 6-2, 6-3 to world No 20 Kiki Bertens, who will face either Maria Sharapova or Kristina Mladenovic in the quarter-finals.