Simona Halep cruises into Prague Open semis

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PRAGUE — Top-seeded Simona Halep cruised past lucky loser Magdalena Frech 6-2, 6-0 to advance to the semifinals of the Prague Open on Friday.

Halep, ranked No. 2, converted her first match point with a backhand winner to beat Frech, ranked 174.

“I’m happy that I can play better and better day by day,” Halep said. “It was a good one and I’ll take it.”

Halep needed three sets to knock out her first- and second-round opponents, Polona Hercog and Barbora Krejcikova.

She will play next Irina-Camelia Begu or Sara Sorribes Tormo in the semis. Their quarterfinal was suspended when Begu was leading 6-2, 0-1.

Third-seeded Elise Mertens beat wild card Eugenie Bouchard 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 to set up a semifinal against Kristyna Pliskova.

Pliskova advanced after Ana Bogdan retired due to a left foot injury while leading 5-2 in the opening set of their second-round match.

The Prague Open is the second European tournament since the WTA restarted amid the coronavirus pandemic, with strict health protocols in place.