Sloane Stephens and Angelique Kerber beaten, but Simona Halep survives
Sloane Stephens and Angelique Kerber were among the seeds to lose at the rain-affected Cincinnati Masters on Thursday.
US Open champion and third seed Stephens was stunned 7-6 (10-8), 6-2 by Elise Mertens, who is playing in the main draw of the Western & Southern Open for the first time in her career.
— WTA (@WTA) August 16, 2018
“It’s really awesome to be able to play like this against a player like Sloane, who has a Grand Slam already,” the 15th seeded Mertens said.
“I think I played a great match, not too many mistakes. She doesn’t give you free points, so you have to build them yourself. And I’m pretty happy about the way I played today.”
The Belgian will take on eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova next after the two-time Grand Slam winner secured a comfortable 6-4, 6-2 victory over Kristina Mladenovic from France.
Wimbledon champion Kerber joined Stephens and Garbine Muguruza, who exited on Wednesday, on the sidelines as she was beaten by 2017 US Open runner-up Madison Keys.
The American hit 55 winners as she came from a set down to win 2-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 and secure only her second victory in eight outings against Kerber.
“Considering the last – what was it, six times? – it didn’t go so hot, this victory feels good,” Keys said. “More than anything, it was just how I handled being down and not letting the previous results kind of spiral in my head for me. I think that’s what I’m happiest with.”
Sixth seed Caroline Garcia also crashed out as she was beaten by Aryna Sabalenka with the Belarusian winning 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.
Top seed Simona Halep moved into the third round, but she didn’t have it all her own way against Ajla Tomljanovic.
In a match that started on Wednesday evening and had to be pushed to Thursday due to the weather, the Australian qualifier took the opening set, but Halep eventually found her rhythm and won 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Next up is another Australian in Ashleigh Barty.
Novak Djokovic ‘set to be handed key Ryder Cup role’ as he flies into Rome
Novak Djokovic could have a a big role to play with Team Europe at the Ryder Cup in Rome.
Carlos Alcaraz set to face rival in exhibition event; Caroline Wozniacki to play Maria Sakkari
Carlos Alcaraz is set to face a rival in an exhibition match in Mexico, while Caroline Wozniacki will take on Maria Sakkari.
Piers Morgan rips into Emma Raducanu for taking part in ‘woke and absurd’ advert
Piers Morgan has turned his verbal fire on Raducanu after she took part in a HSBC advert.
Tennis legend backs Novak Djokovic to play ‘as long as the young guys don’t want to beat him’
A tennis great “does not blame” Novak Djokovic for wanting to continue playing for “as long as these young guys don’t want” to beat him.
‘I’d love to see Rafael Nadal play one more time – he’s a student of the game’, says tennis great
A tennis legend would love to see fellow great Rafael Nadal play “one more time” before the Spaniard retires.
Roger Federer ready to ‘return to the court’ as he hints at big plan
Roger Federer has hinted at a return to the court as he looks to get back into top shape.
Iga Swiatek reveals biggest hurdle to her completing a career Grand Slam
Iga Swiatek discussed when she hopes to complete a career Grand Slam and suggested what her biggest hurdle may be.
‘Carlos Alcaraz was No 1 most of this year but all the players still think Novak Djokovic is No 1’
A top analyst has claimed “all the players” still think Novak Djokovic is the best player in the world.
Nightmare draw for Andy Murray as Carlos Alcaraz learns his fate in China Open
Carlos Alcaraz set to return to action for the first time since the US Open.
Huge money on offer in China with record prize pot up for grabs for top women
The top women players will be chasing a huge cash prize at the China Open.