WTA Rome: solid Pliskova and Halep, Muguruza-Azarenka shock in quarter

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Karolina Pliskova finds colors. After being taken out in the second round of the US Open by Caroline Garcia, the great Czech is gradually making her mark on European clay. Friday, she chained a second victory in Rome, by firmly dominating the Russian qualifier Anna Blinkova in two sets (6-4, 6-3) and 1h18 of play. To continue the adventure until the last four, she will have to be defeat Elise Mertens who beat Montenegrin Danka Kovinic (6-4, 6-4), also from the quaifications.

It is probably no coincidence that Pliskova is relaunching in Italy. Last year, the tournament’s number 2 seed went to Rome for the title: clay courts, but fast, suit him particularly well. She could have won more quickly on Friday, she who quickly led 6-4, 5-1, before suffering a break without consequence. The quality of his first ball, with more than 80% success when it is passed, made the difference.

Halep holds his rank

At the top of the table, Simona Halep did not tremble either against Dayana Yastremska, 29th player in the world, whom she dominated in two hung sets (7-5, 6-4) and 1h28 of play. series number 1 was surprised by an entry station wagon, but it was able to catch up again in the process. The turning point of the game came with 5 games all over the first act. The Ukrainian, who had previously held the Romanian way, broke down, committing two gross errors and a double fault. Broken, she then cashed a series of five games (7-5, 3-0).

With a double break in advance, Halep however gave up one later. But she never really feared a return of Yastremska in this second set. In the quarter-finals, she will face the Kazakhstani Yulia Putintseva who toppled her compatriot Elena Rybakina (4-6, 7-6, 6-2) after falling 4-6, 2-5.

Muguruza easy, Azarenka on abandonment

For his part, Garbiñe Muguruza is clearly gaining momentum. The Spaniard put aside a failed US Open and now has three straight wins over Roman Ocher. And if she had been jostled or even manhandled by Cori Gauff in the previous round, this time, the finalist of the Australian Open left no chance for Johanna Konta, yet seeded number 7 and swept in straight sets (6 -4, 6-1) and 1h22 of play.

Muguruza was formidably effective behind his first ball (almost 82% success) and never conceded his serve, dismissing the only three break points opponent. And to go further, she will have to get rid of the player in form of the moment: Victoria Azarenka. After strolling against Sofia Kenin on Thursday (6-0, 6-0), the US Open finalist found someone to talk to on Friday against Daria Kasatkina. The two players fought a hell of a battle in the first set (1h16) until … the abandonment of the Russian who fell in the middle of a tie-break, unfortunately injuring her ankle (6-6, ab.) .

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