Halep Passes Hercog Test At Prague Open

STARNBERG, August 11, 2020

A busy Tuesday at the Prague Open was headlined by the top three players of the WTA International Event. No. 1 seed Simona Halep celebrated a successful return to the circuit with a 6-1, 1-6, 7-6(3) victory over Polona Hercog from Slovenia.

The 28-year-old Romanian converted six of her 19 break point chances and 51 per cent of the total points played. Halep needed seven match points to close out the battle after two hours and 30 minutes.

“I knew it was going to be difficult. All our matches were very tough and very long,” said Halep, quoted by the WTA website. “She knows me pretty well, we played in juniors. She changes the rhythm, she plays dropshots, a little bit softer then harder, so it was tougher for me to be in the point.”

The World No. 2 will next take on Czech wild card entry Barbora Krejcikova. The 24-year-old Brno native beat Patricia Maria Tig of Romania 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 47 minutes.

Later in the day, Petra Martic defeated Varvara Gracheva from Russia 7-6(2), 6-3. The No. 2 seed from Croatia, who advanced to the quarterfinals of the Palermo Ladies Open in Sicily last week, broke her opponent’s serve three times to finish the encounter after one hour and 50 minutes.

“Not an easy one, especially the first set,” assessed Martic afterwards. “Unfortunately couldn’t serve it out, but I’m happy I brought my level up in the tiebreak where it mattered.”

Up next for Martic will be Kristyna Pliskova, who emerged victorious from the all-Czech affair with wild card entry Linda Fruhvirtova 6-2, 7-5.

No. 3 seed Elise Mertens also booked her spot in the second round. The 24-year-old Belgian fought past Jasmine Paolini from Italy 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. Mertens won 60 per cent of her first-service points and eight points more than her opponent to prevail after two hours and 41 minutes. The World No. 23 will next play Italy’s Camila Giorgi, who came back from a set down to overcome Ukrainian qualifier Marta Kostyuk 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(4). The match lasted two hours and 11 minutes.