PRAGUE – Reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep reached the quarter-finals of the WTA Prague Open after grinding out a three-set win against Czech doubles specialist Barbora Krejcikova on Thursday (Aug 13).
The lacklustre Romanian world number two overpowered the 118th-ranked Krejcikova 3-6, 7-5 and 6-2 in two hours and five minutes in her second post-lockdown match.
On a scorching hot Thursday afternoon and behind closed doors, the 28-year-old Halep struggled with her right shoulder which affected her serve as she piled up ten double faults and gave away seven breaks.
She was 2-0 down in the third set but then won six games in a row after finally regaining composure as Krejcikova lost much of the resolve she had shown earlier in the match.
In the quarter-final, Halep will face Poland’s Magdalena Frech, the world number 174.
Halep already struggled in her first match at the tournament, a 150-minute three setter against Slovenia’s Polona Hercog.
Halep pulled out of the first post-lockdown WTA tournament in Palermo last week over virus concerns, and is yet to make a final decision whether to play at the US Open later this month.
The tournament in Prague is Halep’s first trip abroad since February as she spent the lockdown in her native Romania.
Within security measures, the players and staff are all staying in a single eight-storey hotel reserved for the occasion.
Regular temperature checks are a must, just like face masks which the players have to wear unless they are playing, training or eating.