Montreal: World No.1 Simona Halep crushed seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams in straight sets at the WTA Montreal tennis tournament here Thursday just hours after a delivering a marathon three-hour victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Top seed Halep blitzed the 38-year-old American 6-2, 6-2 in just 71 minutes to reach the quarterfinals.
Halep’s match against Pavlyuchenkova was originally scheduled for Wednesday night but heavy rains forced organisers to postpone it until Thursday morning. The Romanian needed three gruelling sets 7-6(11-9), 4-6, 7-5 to oust the World No. 28 Russian but had a much easier time against veteran Williams who has yet to win a title in 2018.
“It’s never easy to play either of the Williams sisters, and even though she was struggling, I knew I had to be focused on every ball, and stay focused until the end,” Halep said after her match.
The reigning French Open champion started quickly, winning the first two games en route to taking the opening set. She also jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set and after a slight lull in the middle she rebounded to run away with the final four games.
Halep next faces sixth seed Caroline Garcia, who overwhelmed former World No.1 Maria Sharapova hours earlier 6-3, 6-2. Halep leads Garcia in their career head-to-head 4-1.
Aryna Sabalenka meanwhile, staged one of the biggest wins of her career, saving three match points en route to a 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(7/4) upset of second seed Caroline Wozniacki.
US Open champion Sloane Stephens reached the quarter-finals with a rollercoaster 6-2, 7-5 while Australian 15th seed Ashleigh Barty also made the quarterfinals by seeing off Alize Cornet of France 7-6(7/3), 6-4.