Sun, Feb 16, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Halep heads Doha storm as seeds are blown away


Simona Halep proved herself the most exciting new young star on the WTA circuit as she rode the storm which has blown away so many of the seeds at the Qatar Open.

Halep, a 22-year-old Romanian who was voted WTA Tour newcomer of the year, needed less than an hour to overwhelm the fourth-seeded Sara Errani, and allowed one of the tour’s gamest fighters only two games as she hurtled into the semi-finals.

A highly effective first serve and strident flat hitting on the run built up Halep’s impressive momentum, which earned the last seven games in succession and created a feeling that she will be climbing the top 10 standings she reached for the first time last month.

“Actually I could not run very well because I have an injury,” Halep said to a mixture of amazement and amusement after her 6-2, 6-0 success. “So I just wanted to be aggressive and finish the points as soon as I can.”

She succeeded so well in this that nobody in the know would have been aware she was carrying an Achilles strain. Halep may also have been motivated by the memory of a heavy defeat by the Italian in Miami last year.

Eleven of the 15 seeds who started the tournament have failed to reach their allotted places.

Earlier, the third-seeded former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was ousted almost as quickly by Jelena Jankovic, 6-1, 6-3.

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