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June 26, 2022

Indian Weells: Halep and Bouchard to clash in 16s

Romanian tennis player  Simona Halep (photo) battled to the finish to get past Lucie Safarova 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 at the BNP Paribas Open (Indian wells) on Sunday evening, becoming the first player into the fourth round of the Premier-level event.
Awaiting Halep in the fourth round is No.18 seed Eugenie Bouchard, who upset No.9 seed Sara Errani, 6-3 6-3. Bouchard’s win over the World No.10 was the third Top 10 win of her career, her first two coming last year – she beat Sam Stosur at Charleston and Jelena Jankovic at Tokyo [Pan Pacific].
Halep and Bouchard will be playing against each other for the first time, on Tuesday evening.
Halep’s extra gear in the third set against Safarova is just the kind of thing that has helped her burst into the upper echelon of women’s tennis over the last 10 months. While she may have lost some of those close ones beforehand, she’s now cool, calm and collected – and she’s able to let her obvious talents shine.
“I think my game is complete,” Halep said earlier in the week. “I can play well with both sides. I don’t serve really well, but I keep working on that. And I move well, so I stay close to the baseline. I think I’m playing beautiful tennis. Maybe it’s because I’m very relaxed on the court now, and that’s the secret to winning a lot of tournaments. I just want to keep going like this – it’s the right way.”
Earlier this year Halep broke the Top 10 for the first time, becoming the third Romanian to break that elite after Virginia Ruzici and Irina Spirlea. With her recent rise to No.7 in the world (re-confirmed on Monday’s WTA standings) she passed former World No.8 Ruzici and tied former World No.7 Spirlea for highest-ranked Romanian in WTA history.
Also among Sunday’s early winners was No.22 seed Alize Cornet, who scored a heroic victory against No.14 seed Carla Suarez Navarro, 67(4) 75 63. Not only did the match last three hours and 26 minutes – the second-longest match of the year after Maria Sharapova’s three-hour, 28-minute win over Karin Knapp at the Australian Open – but Cornet fought off triple match point serving 4-5, 0-40 second set.
In the men’s tournament, Romanian Victor Hanescu was defeated in the second round by Novak Djokovic 7-6 (7/1), 6-2.

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