Tennis: Elise Mertens Shocks Simona Halep At Madrid Open


Thirteenth seed Elise Mertens advance to the quarterfinals of the Mutua Madrid Open after rallying from a break down in each of the final two sets to beat Third seed Simona Halep 4-6, 7-5, 7-5.

Mertens needed two hours and 34 minutes to defeat the Romanian on the clay courts of Spain. It was Mertens’ second win in six attempts against Halep and her first on clay.

It was the sixth win for Mertens over an opponent ranked in the top five. Halep, a two-time Grand Slam champion, is ranked No. 3 in the world.Β Mertens had to climb back from a 3-1 deficit in both the second and third sets.

“I want to be on court as long as possible, especially after losing the first set,” Mertens said. “I didn’t think too much about the score, I was just thinking about the way I should play to improve myself.”

Halep had her chances to put away Mertens, but 48 unforced errors contributed to her defeat.

“She played really well, and she definitely deserved to win because she was stronger in the end,” Halep said of Mertens. “I cannot say I played bad, but I did some mistakes, important mistakes. Sometimes it’s just a little bit and the match is going away.”

In the quarterfinals, Mertens will meet her doubles partner Aryna Sabalenka, who defeat American Jessica Pegula 6-1, 6-2. It will be the first quarterfinals appearance in Madrid for both Mertens and Sabalenka.

Sabalenka, the Fifth seed, had just 13 unforced errors and faced only one break point against Pegula.

In other action, a pair of seeded players were eliminated by two unseeded Russians, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Karolina Muchova, in three-set clashes.

Pavlyuchenkova defeated Eleventh seed Jennifer Brady 7-5, 6-7 (8), 6-3. Muchova ousted Sixteenth seed Maria Sakkari 6-0, 6-7 (9), 7-5.

Pavlyuchenkova and Muchova will meet Wednesday in another quarterfinal.


Chidi Nwoke/Reuters.

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