Four days after retiring against Marie Bouzkova in Toronto, world no. 4 Simona Halep is back in action, battling past Ekaterina Alexandrova 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 in two hours and two minutes for the 39th win in 2019. The Russian gave her best against the rival who wasn’t at 100%, winning one point more than Simona and forging a set and a break lead before Halep took charge in the closing stages of sets two and three to move into the next round.
Both players scored four breaks and the Russian wasted more opportunities, creating 13 chances and having to play against ten. Alexandrova hit 12 aces and eight double faults, firing 35 winners and 50 unforced errors while Simona fired less than ten winners and almost 30 errors, a ratio that would not be enough against some better-ranked or more focused opponent.
Ekaterina saved four break points in the fourth game and moved in front with a break at love in the next game following a backhand down the line winner to forge the advantage. Never finding the rhythm, Simona got broken again in game nine to hand the opener to her opponent who moved 2-0 up in set number two, making a big step towards the finish line.
With no room for errors, the Romanian broke back in the next game and claimed 12 of the last 14 points from 5-4 down to steal the set and force a decider where they traded breaks in games five and six to stay locked up. Serving at 3-4, Simona shifted into a higher gear, taking 12 of the last 15 points to win the set 6-4 and book the spot in the third round.
The 7th seed Elina Svitolina needed 71 minutes to dismiss Elise Mertens 6-4, 6-1 for the third win over the Belgian in four encounters. Losing 15 points in eight service games, the Ukrainian fended off both break points she faced to mount the pressure on Mertens who was far from those numbers, suffering four breaks from eight opportunities offered to Elina and losing ground after the opening set to proper the 7th seed into the last 16.
Elina claimed the opener with a break in game five, never facing a break point in the remaining six service games and stealing Mertens’ serve three times in a row in set number two to march over the finish line and deliver a commanding victory.