Simona Halep used the momentum from a timely first-set recovery to secure a place in the Rome Masters quarter-finals on Friday with a 7-5, 6-4 defeat of Dayana Yastremska.

The two-time finalist from Romania is into the last eight at the Foro Italico for the fifth time in her career; she played finals in 2017 and 2018, losing both times to Elina Svitolina.

She failed to impress here in May, 2019, going out in the second round to Marketa Vondrousova.

“I’m very pleased with the way I moved, I feel good,” Halep said. “The serve helped me a lot today, so in important moments I served very well and I won some easy games.

“I think it was a great match. It gives me confidence that even in these conditions with a big hitter I could win in two sets.”.

Top seed Halep worked her way out of any danger against Yastremska, winning 12 of 13 points while trailing 3-0 and to square the opening set 3-all to get back into the match.

It took just under 90 minutes for Halep to move through after a break for 3-1 in the second set which insured victory.

Victoria Azaranka rushed to comfort injured opponent Daria Kasatkina on the court when the sobbing Russian was forced to retire injured. 2013 finalist Azarank advanced to the quarter-finals here 6-6(2), retired.

Holder Karolina Pliskova had a relatively easy time in defeating qualifier Anna Blinkova 6-4, 6-3 to reach the Rome last eight for a third time.

She will next face Elise Mertens, who 26 wins leads the WTA this season; the Belgian advanced over Danka Kovinic 6-4, 6-4.

Double Grand Slam winner Garbine Muguruza beat British seventh seed Jo Konta 6-4, 6-1 to play a sixth quarter-final this season.

The ninth-seeded Spaniard, a former No. 1 with Paris and Wimbledon titles in her resume, has reached the quarters or better at six of her seven events this season,

She now stands 20-5 in 2020.


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