Halep advances to semifinals at Indian Wells

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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Simona Halep fought the wind and a pesky opponent to reach the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday.

The world’s top-ranked woman outlasted Petra Martic of Croatia 6-4, 6-7 (7), 6-3 and improved to 18-1 in matches this year.

Winds gusting to 15 mph made shots tricky. Trailing 4-2 in the first set, Martic closed to 5-4 before Halep served it out.

Martic controlled the second set, taking a 5-2 lead before Halep forced the tiebreaker. The Romanian tied it 5-all before Martic won the final two points to force a third set. Halep rallied from a 2-1 deficit to tie it 3-all before winning the last three games.

“I was a little bit frustrated about the game today because the wind didn’t give us the rhythm,” Halep said in an on-court interview. “That’s maybe why I’m here because I refuse to lose.”

Halep next plays the winner of a quarterfinal between No. 5 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic and Naomi Osaka of Japan.

Roger Federer, the world’s top-ranked man, followed Halep on the main stadium court against Jeremy Chardy of France.

In another fourth-round men’s match, Borna Coric of Croatia outlasted American Taylor Fritz 6-2, 6-7 (8), 6-4 and No. 31 Phillipp Kohlschreiber of Germany beat Pierre-Hughes Herbert of France 6-4, 7-6 (7).

Fritz had a chance to serve out the second set at 5-4 and couldn’t do it, but he saved a match point down 6-5 in the tiebreaker before trying it up and letting out a yell.

Fritz broke in the first game of the third set, but Coric tied it in the fourth game. He then saved a break point in the ninth game before breaking Fritz to clinch the match in the next game on his fourth match point overall.

“I stayed calm. It was very, very tough second set,” Coric said. “It was ups and downs and set points, the tiebreak. I could already be in my room watching Netflix and I was out there playing on that wind and that sun.”

No. 23 Chung Hyeon of South Korea beat 30th-seeded Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 6-1, 6-3.

Chung has been on a roll since his Grand Slam breakthrough with a semifinal loss to Federer in the Australian Open. He’s reached the quarterfinals or better in four of five tournaments so far and improved to 15-5 this year.

After Chung dominated in racing to a 6-1, 5-0 lead before Cuevas fought off seven match points to break back in the sixth game. Cuevas then broke Chung again to close to 5-3, but the Korean closed out the win.

“It was a really tough match against Pablo,” Chung said. “I have few match points but start (getting) windy and he playing good. Not easy to play with the wind, but I’m just trying to focus all the time.”

Parma Ladies Open semifinals postponed to same day as final

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PARMA, Italy — The semifinals of the Parma Ladies Open have been postponed by a day and will be played shortly before Saturday’s final.

The decision was made because of persistent rain at the clay-court tournament on Friday.

Top-seeded Maria Sakkari will start on center court against Danka Kovinic at 10:30 a.m. local time (0830 GMT) on Saturday before sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan’s match against Mayar Sherif.

The final will be after 6 p.m. local time, shortly after the doubles final – with the doubles semifinals also being played earlier in the day on a different court.

Top-seeded Sakkari reaches semifinals at Parma Ladies Open

Maria Sakkari
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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past 97th-ranked Maryna Zanevska 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday at the Parma Ladies Open to reach her first semifinal since the grass-court season.

Sakkari, who has gone three sets in all three of her matches this week, will face Danka Kovinic for a spot in the final of the clay-court event after Kovinic beat Jasmine Paolini 6-4, 6-4.

In her previous semifinal, Sakkari lost to Belinda Bencic in Berlin in June. The seventh-ranked Greek player was eliminated by Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open on Aug. 31.

In the bottom half of the draw, Mayar Sherif of Egypt beat American opponent Lauren Davis 7-6 (2), 6-3 to reach her second career semifinal. Sherif next faces Ana Bogdan, who defeated fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-2, 7-6 (6).