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Muguruza powers into round of 16 at Cincinnati

By Reuters - Aug 16,2017 - Last updated at Aug 16,2017

Garbine Muguruza of Spain returns a shot to Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil during the Western and Southern Open on Tuesday in Mason, Ohio (AFP photo by Rob Carr)

Garbine Muguruza got her final US Open tune-up event off to a flying start as the Wimbledon champion stormed by Brazilian qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2, 6-0 to reach the third round of the Cincinnati Open on Tuesday.

Second seed Simona Halep overcame an early deficit to beat American qualifier Taylor Townsend 6-4, 6-1 and also reach the third round, while Venus Williams beat Alison Riske 6-2, 6-0 to advance to the second.

French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko was upset 6-4, 6-2 in the first round by unseeded Serbian Aleksandra Krunic and Agnieszka Radwanska, seeded 10th, was another to suffer an early exit, losing 6-4, 6-4 to German Julia Gorges.

Spanish fourth seed Muguruza, fresh off a quarter-finals loss to eventual winner Elina Svitolina at Toronto last week, needed only 65 minutes to earn the straight sets win over Haddad Maia and book her spot in the round of 16.

After trading breaks with Haddad Maia over the course of the first four games, Muguruza found another gear and went on to win the final 10 games of the match.

“I felt like a lot of games were super tight. She’s super tall, big serve with big shots. It was a strange result, because the match was pretty good,” said World No. 6 Muguruza.

“I feel like yesterday I was playing on the grass, and now I’m here. I’m happy to be in the third round here.”

Muguruza now awaits the winner of Wednesday’s clash between American 16th seed Madison Keys and Russian Daria Kasatkina.

Romanian Halep, the 2015 Cincinnati runner-up, fell behind early but reeled off four consecutive games, including two love service holds, to clinch the opening set and remained in control the rest of the way.

Halep will next face Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova, who earlier rallied to beat China’s Peng Shuai 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Williams was aggressive from the start and only got better as the match went on, stepping in and finishing rallies at the net.

Fashion-conscious Williams’ biggest struggle on the court may have been with her jewellery after her hoop earring fell off at one point and later got tangled with her necklace.

The win set up a second round match-up against Australian Ashleigh Barty, who beat American Varvara Lepchenko earlier on Tuesday.

 

Del Potro makes winning return

 

Juan Martin del Potro made a winning return to the Cincinnati Open on Tuesday when the Argentine ground out a 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-0 victory over 10th-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych to reach the second round on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old, back in Cincinnati after a four-year absence from the US Open warmup event, powered down 17 aces to rally past Berdych after he surrendered the opening set following a listless start.

Berdych found his rhythm early in the match and broke Del Potro for a 3-1 lead and did not lose a point on his powerful serve until the 10th game.

But as Del Potro, a semifinalist at the tournament in 2012 and 2013, worked his way back into the match, Berdych slowly began to lose confidence and failed to win a single game in the deciding set.

“During the second set, in the end, I played my best tennis,” 2009 US Open champion Del Potro told reporters. “I hit so sure with my forehand. I made good serves and I took all my chances to win.

“Mentally, I was strong enough to keep fighting and I think he got down after losing that second set. Then, when I broke his serve early in the third [set], my game started improving and I played much better than him.”

Del Potro advances to meet American qualifier Mitchell Krueger in the second round.

Australian Nick Kyrgios also opened his campaign with a welcome victory as the World No. 23 beat Belgian ninth seed David Goffin 6-2, 6-3 in the afternoon heat to reach the second round.

Other than in the first game when he had to climb out of a 0-40 hole, Kyrgios experienced few problems on serve and even secured three breaks against Goffin, who had to take a medical time out for a knee injury during the match.

“He obviously wasn’t at 100 per cent today but you know I’m not at 100 per cent either, so it was a bit of a battle,” said Kyrgios, who has struggled with an array of injuries throughout the season.

“But I served well at crucial moments. I’m feeling okay. I think as long as I can keep putting in performances like these and being able to compete I think I’m okay.”

In other action, third seed Dominic Thiem of Austria was barely tested in his 6-3, 6-2 second-round win over Italy’s Fabio Fognini, while Jack Sock beat fellow American Tommy Paul 6-3, 6-3 to reach the round of 16.

 

Earlier in the day, big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic, the sixth seed, announced his withdrawal from the tournament due to a lingering left wrist injury.

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