Miami Open: Simona Halep rallies to beat Oceane Dodin; Victoria Azarenka through after Madison Keys retires
Halep, who almost joined eight other seeds eliminated on a day of upsets in Miami, was delighted with the way she dug in and fought in the deciding third set.
Miami: World No 1 Simona Halep survived a scare from Oceane Dodin on Thursday, beating the lucky loser 3-6 6-3 7-5 to reach the Miami Open third round, and while the Romanian was unhappy with her performance she said it had been a "good day at the office".
Halep, who almost joined eight other seeds eliminated on a day of upsets in south Florida, was delighted with the way she dug in and fought in the deciding third set on centre court.
"Maybe previous years I couldn't win the matches in the third set, so I'm really happy that I changed this to myself, and I feel stronger," Halep told reporters.
"So when I go to the third set, I don't panic. I'm relaxed and I'm just fighting till the end, and I'm sure that I have a big chance to win the match, so I just go for it."
An upset looked possible in the first set when Dodin's big first serve troubled Halep, who was crushed by eventual champion Naomi Osaka in the Indian Wells semi-finals last week.
But the defensive-minded Halep, who at times reached down to rub a troublesome right ankle, improved as the match wore on, getting the better of France's Dodin in extended rallies and in the key moments.
The match was in the balance until Halep had break points at 5-5 in the third set and jumped all over a weak second serve from the 21-year-old Dodin to move ahead.
Halep won the next game to love, rocketing down an ace on match point to set up a meeting with 30th-seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska, who defeated Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck 6-3 7-6(4).
"I felt just that I played bad, but it’s a good day at the office and I'll take it," Halep said.
"You have these days, and when you don't give up, it's the most important thing. I think that's why I won today because I didn't give up."
In an evening match, American 14th seed Madison Keys retired with what appeared to be a left hamstring injury early in the second set against three-times champion Victoria Azarenka, who led 7-6(5) 2-0.
Keys had the leg taped by a trainer after losing a first set that stretched to over an hour but lasted just two more games before calling it quits.
Among the seeds exiting the tournament were number seven Carolina Garcia of France and number 12 Julia Goerges of Germany.
Also on Thursday, former No 1 Angelique Kerber of Germany advanced to the third round with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Johanna Larsson of Sweden.
Kerber is 19-4 this year and has reached at least the quarterfinals of all five tournaments she's played.
Kerber, the 2016 Australian Open and US Open champion, won her first tournament since that US Open at Sydney in January. She also reached the Australian Open semifinals.
With inputs from Agencies
Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro at ₹499 for the first year. Use code PRO499. Limited period offer. *T&C apply
Clijsters' comeback was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic and she has yet to play in 2021. Miami will mark her first event since her first-round loss in the US Open in September.
Naomi Osaka clinched her fourth Grand Slam title on Saturday after beating Jennifer Brady at the Australian Open. Here's how her two US Opens and two Australian Opens were won:
Despite conceding the first set, Russia's Kuznetsova put up a spirited defence in the second leading to increasingly sprawling rallies with her well-matched Belarusian opponent.