Simona Halep beats Polona Hercog, battles into Miami Open 4th round
Simona Halep, 27, lost her place at the top of the rankings following Naomi Osaka’s triumph at the Australian Open earlier this year.
Simona Halep kept alive hopes of regaining the world number one ranking Sunday, beating Polona Hercog 5-7, 7-6 (7/1), 6-2 to reach the last 16 where she will play Venus Williams at the Miami Open.
Halep, 27, lost her place at the top of the rankings following Naomi Osaka’s triumph at the Australian Open earlier this year.
But with the Japanese faltering here on Saturday, Halep can return to the position she last held at the end of 2018 if she lands the Miami Open for the first time.
“It’s always tough against Venus,” said the current world number three, who has beaten the American in their previous three encounters.
“I’m not going to say that it’s going to be easier because I won the last matches against her. It’s a big challenge for me.”
Seven-time Grand Slam champion Williams, meanwhile, swept past Russian Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 6-1.
“Simona always plays flawless tennis against me, so I have to be ready for that,” Williams said.
Elsewhere in women’s action, American Sloane Stephens’s title defense ended in a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Germany’s Tatjana Maria.
It was another disappointing ending for Stephens, who fell in the third round at Indian Wells.