China Open: Simona Halep, Jelena Ostapenko advance to semifinals

By The Sports Xchange  |  Oct. 6, 2017 at 4:58 PM
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Simona Halep receives an opportunity to exact revenge on Jelena Ostapenko after the two women advanced to the semifinals of the China Open with straight-set victories on Friday.

Second-seeded Halep required just 69 minutes to dispatch Russian Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-1 at Beijing, while ninth-seeded Ostapenko posted a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Romania's Sorana Cirstea.

The victories set up the first meeting between Ostapenko and Halep since the 20-year-old Latvian stunned Halep in the French Open final at Roland Garros in June.

"She's a great player," Ostapenko said of Halep. "If I play my best and I stay aggressive tomorrow and I am consistent, I think everything can happen."

Ostapenko experienced service issues against Cirstea -- who is her doubles partner -- by committing seven double faults. But she was able to fight through her miscues to prevail in one hour, 24 minutes.

"We had some really good rallies," Ostapenko said. "Even I hit a lot of unforced errors, still I stayed very focused in the match and won it."

Halep overcame 21 errors in her victory over Kasatkina. The Romanian hit 19 winners and was in control from the outset.

"I changed the tactic and worked pretty well," Halep said. "I did just my game and my style, and I was very consistent and solid as well."

Unseeded Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia and 12th-seeded Petra Kvitova will square off in the other semifinal.

Garcia stunned third-seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 6-7 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (6) in a three-hour, 21-minute marathon, while Kvitova cruised to a 6-3, 6-4 victory over fellow Czech Barbora Strycova.

Kvitova hit 15 winners while extending her victory streak against Czech players to 24 straight. She said she was feeling tired when the match began but was able to work through the fatigue.

"On the court I felt pretty slow. Maybe I wasn't, but that was my feeling," Kvitova said. "Sometimes it's pretty confusing. So, like, from my opinion, I think that I played better yesterday (when she defeated Caroline Wozniacki).

"But important was today just to, you know, be kind of focused on the points which Barbora can put back. It's pretty tricky with the slice, dropshots, high ones. It's not very easy. She's a very good mover, so it was pretty difficult. I'm happy that my serve in the important kind of points was there."

The 23-year-old Garcia is in the midst of a nine-match winning streak and had this to say on her Twitter and Instagram comments:

"WHAT A GAME !!! #FlyWithCaro #chinaopen"

Garcia won last week's Wuhan Open before continuing her run of success in China this week.

Garcia's victory also temporarily ends Svitolina's attempt to become the world No. 1 for the first time in her career.

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