Pliskova stuns top seed Halep in Madrid Open quarters

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Madrid, May 10 (IANS) Czech sixth seed Karolina Pliskova on Thursday stunned world No.1 Simona Halep 6-4, 6-3 in the quarter-finals of the Madrid Open, halting the Romanian’s winning streak in the tournament at 15 matches.

Halep is one of only three female players to win the Madrid Open title twice, in 2016 and 2017, following the United States Serena Williams (2012 and 2013) and Czech Petra Kvitova (2011 and 2015), reported Efe.

But Halep’s bid for a third crown in a row was denied by Pliskova, who needed 69 minutes to avenge her twin sister Kristyna, who was knocked out by Halep in the previous round.

Pliskova, a former world No.1, is scheduled to play against either her countrywoman Petra Kvitova or Russia’s Daria Kasatkina for a place in the final.

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Despite being knocked out, Halep will continue leading the WTA rankings, to be issued on Monday, for the 28th week, as Halep’s rival Dane Caroline Wozniacki was defeated by Holland’s Kiki Bertens on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia defeated Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-3 to reach the semi-finals of thetournament for the first time.

After spending five hours and 36 minutes on court in her previous two matches, Navarro seemed to have run out of steam against Garcia.

This time, Navarro had no chance for a successful rally as she did in her three-set wins against Ukrainian Elina Svitolina and the US’ Bernarda Pera, despite her coach Marc Casabo’s best efforts to boost her energy.

With Suarez Navarro’s exit, Spain’s hope for a local female singles champion has to wait for another year, as Suarez Navarro was Spain’s lone women’s representative at the tournament after Garbiñe Muguruza’s defeat at the hands of Russia’s Daria Kasatkina on Wednesday.

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Garcia could become the first Frenchwomen to make it to top five in the WTA world rankings since Amelie Mauresmo, a former world No. 4, if she wins the title or in case Czech Karolina Pliskova loses her Thursday match against the first ranked Simona Halep.

Garcia is set to play Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens, who got the better of Russia’s Maria Sharapova with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.



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