Qatar Open: World No 2 Simona Halep shrugs off injury concerns to progress to quarter-final
Halep admitted she had lingering concerns about an ankle injury which had kept her out of action since her defeat to Caroline Wozniacki in the Australian Open final last month.
Doha: Simona Halep shrugged off injury concerns to record a straight sets victory over Anastasija Sevastova on Thursday to progress to the Qatar Open quarter-finals.
The World No 2 won 6-4, 6-3, hit 29 winners and needed four match points before overcoming her Latvian opponent, who is ranked 15th in the world.
Coming into the match, Halep admitted she had lingering concerns about an ankle injury which had kept her out of action since her defeat to Caroline Wozniacki in the Australian Open final last month.
But she seemed relatively untroubled breaking her opponent's serve late in each set to advance to the last eight.
Defending champion and World No 3 Karolina Pliskova though is out.
She was beaten by American qualifier Catherine Bellis, 6-7 (4/7,) 3-6, the first time the teenager has beaten someone in the top five.
"I think it's definitely a milestone. It's great," said the 18-year-old.
Her victory also ensured that for the fifth consecutive year, the Qatar title will not be retained by the defending champion.
World No 4 Garbine Muguruza breezed through her match against Romania's Sorana Cirstea, winning 6-0, 6-4.
"I'm very happy with the performance. I'm looking to play as many matches as I can. So it's good.
All of the world's top five are in action on Thursday, though the most anticipated clash is that between World No 9 Angelique Kerber and the woman ranked just two places below her, Britain's Johanna Konta, the last match on centre court.
Currently ranked second in doubles and 52nd in singles, Strycova, 35, won the Wimbledon doubles title with Hsieh Su-wei in 2019 and reached the singles semi-finals there the same year, her best Grand Slam results ever.
Preparing to return at this week's Italian Open to gear up for Roland Garros later this month, Williams on Monday detailed her recent training regimen.
Kenin, the Australian Open champion and French Open runner-up in 2020, wrote about the switch on Instagram on Friday.