Sun, Apr 26, 2015 - Page 18 News List

Halep ignores death threat to advance to Stuttgart semis

AFP, STUTTGART, Germany

Germany’s Angelique Kerber returns to Ekaterina Makarova of Russia during their Porsche Tennis Grand Prix quarter-final in Stuttgart, Germany, on Friday.

Photo: AFP

Romania’s Simona Halep shrugged off death threats from a stalker to take her place in the semi-finals at the WTA tournament in Stuttgart by beating Italy’s Sara Errani on Friday.

The 23-year-old Halep, ranked third in the world, had received a death threat via Twitter on Thursday from a Danish fan.

The Stuttgart tournament’s organizers confirmed they had stepped up security around her.

“I can’t comment on it. I am here to play tennis. Other people will take care of it,” Halep said after her 6-4, 6-4 win over Errani in a tight quarter-final on the indoor clay court.

The obsessed fan is believed to have bombarded Halep with a series of messages via social media.

The Romanian showed no signs of the off-court distraction to claim victory, which is set to see her take Maria Sharapova’s place as second in the world rankings tomorrow.

She finally converted her fourth match point against Errani in a match that featured 16 breaks in 20 games.

“It was a tough game, she defended very well and it was hard to finish points off against her,” Halep said. “I’m looking forward to the semi-finals now.”

Halep, a French Open finalist last year, faces former world No. 1 and boxing fan Wozniacki after the Dane floored Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 6-0, 6-3 in just over an hour.

“I surprised myself by having fun out there today, I don’t normally like clay, but it was nice to slide and run,” said fourth-seed Wozniacki, who says she sometimes spars in training. “I like to box from time to time, it’s a great cardio work-out.”

Halep is the highest seeded player still in Stuttgart after reigning champion Sharapova, who had won all of her three previous tournament appearances in Stuttgart, was beaten by Germany’s Angelique Kerber on Thursday in the second round.

Kerber also reached the semi-finals with a straight sets win over sixth-seed Ekaterina Makarova of Russia.

The 27-year-old needed just an hour for a 6-3, 6-2 win to celebrate her ninth win in succession after winning the Charleston tournament a two weeks ago.

“I’m speechless over how amazing the atmosphere is here on the center court,” Kerber said.

“I have rediscovered my joy and passion for tennis and I am enjoying every minute on court,” she said, having broken a sequence of disappointing results with her win in South Carolina.

In the semi-finals, the in-form German faces Madison Brengle of the US, who recovered from losing the first set to beat Caroline Garcia of France 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

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