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.