AFP/Indian Wells, United States
Simona Halep took pride in rallying past 19-year-old Caroline Dolehide at Indian Wells, while Petra Kvitova’s remarkable win streak skidded to a halt against another US teen.
World No 1 Halep came from behind to beat Dolehide 1-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 in the third round of the WTA hardcourt tournament, while two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova had her 14-match winning streak snapped as she lost 6-2, 6-4 to 149th-ranked Amanda Anisimova on Sunday.
The 26-year-old Halep is trying to repeat her success in the California desert in 2015 when she lifted the trophy.
“In the end, I think I was stronger in the legs,” Halep said.
“Also when I had to finish the points, I did. I’m really, really happy about this victory. It was tough down there.”
The Romanian improved to 16-1 on the season and said her confidence is what keeps her going in tight matches.
“I didn’t give up, which is the most important thing,” she said. “I never thought that I would lose the match. I just wanted to stay there and to see what is happening. I’m really proud that I could manage this match.
“It was really tough. And for second match of the tournament was amazing match, amazing level, in my opinion.”
Halep hit two aces had no double faults, and broke Dolehide’s serve five times in the two hour, five minute match. Halep said she likes use the word “proud” and is trying to maintain a positive attitude.
“I haven’t used that word before because I was tougher with myself. So now I’m trying to change that and be kinder with myself,” she said. “That’s why I just give credit to myself and it gives me confidence for the next days.”
Halep booked a round-of 16 clash with China’s Wang Qiang, who defeated 14th seed Kristina Mladenovic, of France, 6-1, 6-2.
Despite her top ranked status, Halep is still seeking her first career Grand Slam title.
She reached her third Grand Slam final earlier this year at the Australian Open where she lost to Caroline Wozniacki in three sets. Halep and Wozniacki have taken turns being No 1 this year. Wozniacki took the world number one ranking after winning the Aussie Open but Halep regained it just prior to the Indian wells event. With her win Sunday over Dolehide, Halep can keep her top ranking unless Wozniacki wins the title.
Elsewhere, Kvitova had been playing some of the best tennis of her career so it wasn’t the kind of third round statement the ninth seed was looking for as she lost in straight sets to the youngest player in the draw.
The 14 straight victories tied her previous career best which she set in 2011-2012. The 28-year-old Czech came into Indian Wells having won the last two tournaments she played in.
She missed Indian Wells last year recovering from hand injuries inflicted by a knife-wielding burglar at her home in December 2016. Kvitova committed four double faults and had her serve broken five times. The 16-year-old Anisimova, who received a wildcard into the draw, is making her Indian Wells debut. She said it was the biggest win of her career.
“It feels crazy,” she said.
In the fourth round she’ll face fifth seed Karolina Pliskova, who beat China’s Zhang Shuai 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.
Elsewhere, US Open winner Sloane Stephens cruised past wild card Victoria Azarenka in straight sets 6-1, 7-5 in a second round match that was postponed from Saturday night because of rain.
German 10th seed Angelique Kerber and Ekaterina Makarova of Russia stretched their match over two days because of the showers before Kerber prevailed in three sets, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Anisimova speaks out against guns
Rising tennis star Amanda Anisimova has added her voice to the growing chorus of young people in America who are demanding a crackdown on gun owners following the latest school shooting rampage that killed 17 people.
The 16-year-old American said the shooting struck close to home for her because she has a friend that attends the high school in Parkland, Florida, that came under attack by a lone gunman last month.
“That’s definitely terrible,” she said.
“I actually had a friend that goes to that school. It’s really close to me. It’s really sad what’s going on.”
Anisimova, who is the youngest player in the tournament, scored one of the biggest upsets of the WTA Tour event on Sunday by
beating former two-time Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova 6-2,
Anisimova, who was born in New Jersey but moved to Miami when she was three years old, thinks firearms should be outlawed.
“I think that guns should be banned,” she told reporters at the southern California tournament.
“That’s what my opinion is. I posted that on Twitter. But you should have stricter laws on that for sure.”
On Friday, Florida introduced a law that paves the way for some school staff to carry firearms, but Anisimova doesn’t think it is a good idea to have high school teachers packing.
“I don’t think teachers should be having guns in school because I don’t think that’s a good idea,” she said.
Asked how her friend is coping with the grief process, Anisimova said, “She was fine, but, you know, she was there, and so it’s definitely something that she has to keep going through.
“All of her friends and everything. So it was a tough day for her, but she was fine.”
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