MASON, Ohio — Top-ranked Simona Halep needed only eight points to complete a gritty comeback that was put on hold overnight by rain, beating qualifier Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 at the Western & Southern Open on Thursday afternoon.
Rain resulted in three matches suspended overnight. Nobody was closer to finishing off a win than Halep, who had overcome an injury and staged a third-set rally when the storm arrived.
Fresh off her second Rogers Cup title, Halep arrived in Cincinnati looking to extend her momentum toward the U.S. Open. She appeared to aggravate her lower back on a 105 mph serve during the second set on Wednesday night. After losing the first three games of the final set, she took a medical timeout for treatment.
Halep returned to the court and took control, running off four straight games for a 4-3 lead when rain arrived. Seventeen hours later, she was back on court and needed only 5 minutes to complete the win.
“I have learned that I don’t have to give up, because anything can happen,” she said.
Halep was scheduled to face Ashleigh Barty in the last match on Thursday night, with the winner advancing to the quarterfinals. Rain returned shortly after Halep left the court, delaying play again and creating chaos with the schedule.
The two other suspended matches were just getting started.
Amanda Anisimova and Petra Martic were in the first set of their match that was suspended overnight. Fourth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro and Hyeon Chung were in the first game of their held-over match. The winners faced the challenge of playing essentially two full matches in one day.
PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past Arantxa Rus 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Parma Ladies Open.
Sakkari, who accepted a late wild card to the red clay court tournament, was playing her first event since losing to Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open.
The Greek player will next face Maryna Zanevska of Belgium after she eased past Dalma Galfi 6-1, 6-3.
Fourth-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, lost to Danka Kovinic 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.
Kovinic will face Jasmine Paolini in the quarterfinals after the Italian defeated compatriot Elisabetta Cocciaretto 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
There will be an American in the final eight, however, as Lauren Davis rallied to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. Sorribes Tormo had eliminated second-seeded Martina Trevisan in straight sets in the opening round.
Davis will play Mayar Sherif after the Egyptian player defeated Simona Waltert 6-3, 7-6 (1).
Also, third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania eased past Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti 6-4, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal against sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan, who beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
PARMA, Italy — Sara Sorribes Tormo beat second-seeded Martina Trevisan 7-5, 6-0 in the opening round of the Parma Ladies Open – marking the third consecutive first-round loss for this year’s French Open semifinalist.
Third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu advanced when Viktoriya Tomova retired with Begu leading 7-5, 5-1.
Danka Kovinic beat Oceane Dodin 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 and will next face 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens.
Also on the red clay courts, Mayar Sherif of Egypt eliminated fifth-seeded Anna Bondar 7-5, 6-4; Elisabetta Cocciaretto defeated seventh-seeded Nuria Parrizas Diaz 7-5, 6-1; and Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti earned her first tour-level win by beating Romanian qualifier Gabriela Lee 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.