Top Seed Halep Passes Dolehide Test
(March 11, 2018)Top seed Simona Halep had to rally to stop 19-year-old American Caroline Dolehide 1-6, 7-6 (3), 6-2 in just over two hours at the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday.
“She’s playing really, really well,” said the Romanian.. “And I never played against her, so I didn’t know how the ball is coming.
“Was pretty tough in the first set. I played too flat and too fast. So then I just tried to miss less and also to make her move a little bit, to roll the ball better. In the end, I think I was stronger on the legs. Also, you know, when I had to finish the point, I did.
“I’m really, really happy about this victory. Was tough down there. And many, like, respect to her, because she’s playing really good tennis.”
“I didn’t give up, which is the most important thing,” Halep added. “I never thought that I will 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.”
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Former No. 1 and current tenth seed Angelique Kerber rallied past Ekaterina Makarova 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 to complete a rain-delayed match from Saturday night.
Thirteenth seed Sloane Stephens beat two-time Indian Wells champion Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 7-5.
Azarenka playing for the first time since Wimbledon, due to a custody battle with the father of her child, was disappointed with her play.
“I felt like I started the first game well, and then kind of everything just went away. Started to be so many mistakes and quick, you know. I kind of didn’t know what I was doing out there.
“I found a little bit better rhythm in the second set, found a little bit more fight. But just, you know, really low quality consistency from me today, and it’s tough to win matches like this.
“But, you know, I’m being very hard on myself today, but, you know, if I was prepared 100% like I wanted to do and played like this, I would be a lot more disappointed than I am today. But I’m still really disappointed with just the — you know, I was hoping to play a little better today.”
For Stephens, it was her first-ever win over Azarenka. She’ll play the 20th seed Daria Kasatkina next.
“Played her on clay in Charleston, “Stephens said. “I was down a match point. We played actually a pretty good match, so I think it will be interesting. Obviously the courts here suit both of our games pretty well. So I think it will be another good match, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Petra Martic stunned reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-3.
In the last match of the night, Naomi Osaka beat Sachia Vickery 6-3, 6-3 to reach the fourth round.
“Felt a lot closer than that,” said the 20-year-old from Japan.
“Of course she’s a really good mover. And I think, like, that and also just like the shots she would play at certain times, that was really difficult.
“Yeah, I’m just really happy I was able to win in straight sets. I felt like maybe before I would have gotten really frustrated and taken longer than it should have.”
Osaka, who beat Maria Sharapova in the first round, said that Vickery is a tough opponent. “She was running everything down and it was hard for me to end the point. So I think that would have been the main reason why it was hard for me.”