Halep on track to retain No. 1 ranking

AFP
Simona Halep boosted her bid to retain her world No. 1 ranking as the top seed advanced to the quarterfinals of the Italian Open after American Madison Keys withdrew injured.
AFP

Simona Halep boosted her bid to retain her world No. 1 ranking as the top seed advanced to the quarterfinals of the Italian Open after American Madison Keys withdrew injured yesterday.

The Romanian, a finalist in Rome last year, is on her way to holding her top ranking as she next plays France’s Caroline Garcia or American Sloane Stephens.

Halep needed to reach at least the last eight and go further than world No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki to retain the top-ranking going into the French Open. Wozniacki was playing her third-round match against Anastasija Sevastova later.

Keys, the 2016 runner-up in Rome, withdrew from both singles and doubles, in which she was partnering compatriot Venus Williams.

“I felt my rib in my match yesterday and after trying to warm up this morning it was still painful,” Keys said.

Venus fell to her second defeat in a week to Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit losing in the third-round match in straight sets in 1 hour and 19 minutes.

The 22-year-old Kontaveit won through 6-2, 7-6 (3) against her 37-year-old American rival who was seeded eighth in a tournament she won nearly two decades ago to 1999.

Kontaveit, who also beat Williams last week in Madrid, next plays either second seed Wozniacki of Denmark or Latvia’s Sevastova for a place in the semifinals.

Defending champion Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine fought back from a first set wipeout against Russian Darya Kasatkina to win 0-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Fifth seed Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia also needed three sets to get past Britain’s Johanna Konta 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, with German Angelique Kerber, seeded 11th, ending the hopes of Greece’s Maria Sakkari 6-1, 6-1.

In the men’s event, home hope Fabio Fognini reached the quarterfinals for the first time with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Peter Gojowiczyk.

Fognini was 2-4 down after a break in the first but won four games in a row against the German.

He next plays either top seed Rafael Nadal of Spain or Canadian Denis Shapovalov.

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