Doha, Qatar: Simona Halep now has a new coach in Thierry Van Cleemput and she showed she also has that old intense desire intact as she continued her march towards the world No1 ranking which she relinquished to Japan’s Noami Osaka at the Australian Open.
The Romanian world No.3, who will jump one place in the new rankings, bundled out LesiaTsurenko of Ukraine 6-2, 6-3 on Wednesday to book her place in the Qatar Total Open quarterfinals.
After breezing through the first set at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex, Halep suddenly lost her rhythm at the start of the second, only to regain it and finish off the job in 1 hour and 20 minutes.
"It's been a good match. Even if I was 3-1 down, I got myself together and I just -- I have been more focused after I lost those games, and I came back stronger," said Halep. "I'm happy that I could win in that way."
Halep will take on Julia Goerges on the quarterfinals after the German overcame America’s Alison Riske 6-1, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.
Ukranian Elina Svitolina was also in fine form as she defeated Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko 6-4, 6-4.
World No 7 Svitolina, one of the favourites especially after the high profile withdrawals, was delighted to have finished off Ostapenko, a former French Open winner and a runner up in Doha in 2016, in straight sets.
“I think I was striking the ball really good and serving much better than I did in the previous matches against her.
So I think this was the key today. The tricky conditions, the ball is flying and the wind is very tricky, so I had to be extremely quick with my feet. In the end I was very pleased that I could finish in two sets,” said Svitolina, who will play Karolina Muchova in the next round.
Czech Republic’s Muchova, who is slowly making her way forward had no problem in dismantling Taipei’s Hsieh Su-Wei 6-2, 6-4.
Carla Suárez Navarro, the 2016 winner in Doha, found her campaign came to an abrupt end after she failed to make use of her fine start against Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands.
Carla Suárez Navarro, took the first set 6-2 before completely going off the boil to lose 6-2, 1-6, 1-6.
In another match, Barbora Strycova of Czech Republic beat Anna Blinkova of Russia 6-0, 3-6, 6-0.