US Open: Day Of Reckoning For Simona Halep

WASHINGTON, August 17, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

World No. 2 Simona Halep proved she still has game – even after a five-month imposed hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday, Halep beat third seed and World No. 23 Elise Mertens of Belgium, 6-2, 7-5 to win the WTA Prague Open title, in which she also collected $25,000 in prize money and 280 WTA Rankings points. Her 21st WTA title victory places her fifth among active players, but the big question remains: Will Halep play the US Open, which begins Aug. 31?

During a scaled back post-match ceremony on the red clay Centre Court at TK Sparta Praha, Halep was asked directly during her on-court interview about the US Open. After all, with World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty staying home in Australia, Halep would be elevated to the top seed. She said will make her decision Monday.

“Monday I will have it,” Halep said, asked about her status of coming to New York to play. “Now, it’s too fast to take a decision. I just want to enjoy this victory and then I will have a thought about US Open.”

Currently, among the Top 10 who are out of the US Open are: No. 1 Barty, No. 5 Elina Svitolina, defending champion and No. 6 Bianca Andreescu, No. 7 Kiki Bertens and No. 8 Belinda Bencic. That means, until Halep decides, those among the Top 10 who are in are: No. 3 Karolina Pliskova, No. 4 Sofia Kenin, No. 9 Serena Williams and No. 10 Naomi Osaka.

Nishikori tests positive for COVID-19

Kei Nishikori of Japan posted on his social media platforms Sunday afternoon that he’s tested positive for COVID-19. He’s pulled out of the Western & Southern Open, which begins Saturday in at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, and will delay his departure from Florida to New York.

The first time Andy beat Roger

On August 16, 2009, Andy Murray, just 19, beat Roger Federer for the first time. It was at the Western & Southern Open in Mason, Ohio, and Murray’s win stopped Federer’s 55-match winning streak on hard courts.

The Way Back Machine – Super Swiss

Happy 90th Birthday, Tony Trabert

Happy 28th Birthday, Diego Schwartman

What they’re saying

American 116th-ranked Shelby Rogers, whose quarterfinal upset of World No. 9 Serena Williams at the Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., on Friday garnered plenty of attention …

What they’re writing

Reem Abulleil, tennis columnist for The National, has written an excellent profile, “Donia Shuhaiber is proud to play her part in bringing back tennis back from coronavirus hiatus,” about Top Seed Tennis Club owner Donia Shuhaiber. A Palestinian-Egyptian from Dubai, Suhaiber invested in the Lexington, Ky., club with a goal of promoting a positive culture centered on inclusion and acceptance.

What they’re sharing on social media

Caroline Garcia / Ready to fly

Alizé Cornet / All packed and ready 

Andreas Mies / We’re ready!