Sun, Aug 06, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Heat defeats Halep; Raonic out

‘CRAZY HUMID’:US eighth seed Jack Sock staved off the heat to move on to a semi-final with 15th seed Kevin Anderson, against whom he holds a 2-1 edge


Jack Sock reaches to hit a return against Milos Raonic during their Citi Open quater-final on Friday at the Fitzgerald Tennis Center in Washington.

Photo: EPA

World No. 2 Simona Halep retired with heat illness while Milos Raonic’s title drought reached 19 months after Friday’s 7-5, 6, 4 loss to Jack Sock in the ATP and WTA Citi Open quarter-finals.

A day after complaining that severe heat left her feeling “a bit dead,” French Open runner-up Halep quit her quarter-final match in even more scorching conditions, allowing Russian seventh seed Ekaterina Makarova to advance 2-6, 6-3, 1-0.

“It was just the heat. I felt a little bit sick and I couldn’t continue,” Halep said. “I had a headache and I felt sick.”

Top seed Halep broke Makarova three times to take the first set in 30 minutes, but the Russian battled back to win the second set and broke Halep to open the third.

Trainers took Halep’s blood pressure and said it was fine, but the Romanian had enough.

“Today was really hot,” Makarova said. “I was feeling a lot of energy when I came there and the sun took so much energy. After the first set I started putting ice to my face because it was burning. The ice was helping. I was feeling like I could go through the heat. I was fighting to keep going.”

Halep played the first match each day she played, escaping rain and after-midnight finishes, but competing in the most humid and sweltering conditions.

She sought a later start on Friday from organizers, but was denied.

“I asked for late today, but I couldn’t get it,” said Halep, who was not upset about the situation.

Halep, who captured her 15th career WTA title in May in Madrid, is to defend her title next week in Toronto.

Raonic, who won his biggest career crown in 2014 on the same Washington hard courts, has gone 30 events since last lifting a trophy in Brisbane last year.

Third seed Raonic has lost five consecutive finals, including last year at Wimbledon, but never got that far this week.

US eighth seed Sock won 12 of the last 14 points in the first set and broke the Canadian in the penultimate game of the second to claim the match in 85 minutes.

“I was able to scrap out some balls and stay in some points to finish it off,” Sock said. “It has been crazy humid and hot. I’ve played in the heat of the day and that gives me a lot of confidence heading into the summer.”

Sock, ranked 19th, improved to 3-8 lifetime against Raonic, having dropped eight in a row before a victory last year in Shanghai.

Sock is to next face 15th seed Kevin Anderson, who blasted 21 aces to defeat 200th-ranked Indian qualifier Yuki Bhambri 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

Sock has a 2-1 career edge on Anderson, winning their most recent meeting in last year’s Auckland semi-final.

Anderson, who on Thursday ousted Austrian top seed Dominic Thiem, reached his first Washington semi-final after three prior runs to the last eight.

Bhambri matched his best ATP run by making the quarter-finals, having also gotten that far at Chennai in 2014.

Next up for Makarova is semi-final against the winner of a later match between French fifth seed Oceane Dodin and Germany’s Sabine Lisicki.

Also out to end a title drought is Japanese second seed Kei Nishikori, the 2015 Washington champion who is to later face US wild-card Tommy Paul.

Ninth-ranked Nishikori has not won a title in 18 months and is also in his 30th event since last taking a crown in Memphis last year, going 0-6 in ATP finals since then.

German 20-year-old Alexander Zverev — ranked a career-best eighth and seeking his fourth title of the year — is to face 21-year-old Russian Daniil Medvedev.

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