Simona Halep beats Coco Gauff to advance to Madrid Open quarter-finals | Tennis News

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MADRID: Former world No. 1 Simona Halep recorded the 30th victory of her career at the Madrid Open, beating American phenom Coco Gauff 6-4, 6-4 on Monday. Halep came from 1-4 up in the second set to overtake Gauff in 77 minutes.
“I felt like I played exactly what I was supposed to play,” said Halep, 30, who is now 3-0 for life against Gauff.
“In the second set she changed a bit, she was more aggressive and it wasn’t easy to adapt. But in the end I pushed her away and did what I wanted to do.”
The two-time Romanian Grand Slam champion holds a 2-1 head-to-head record in her last-eight showdown with Ons Jabeur, who, at world No. 10, is the highest-ranked player remaining in the draw .
Madrid was a happy hunting ground for Halep, who won the winners’ trophy twice in a tournament-record four final appearances in the Spanish capital.
A break in game nine was enough for Halep to win the first set in 28 minutes and she erased a three-game deficit in game two to reach the quarter-finals without dropping a set.
At the Arantxa Sanchez stadium, Jabeur joked with the crowd that they should consider supporting them in the next game against Halep, who knocked out favorite Paula Badosa in the previous round.
“Just a reminder guys, Simona won against Paula and she’s Spanish so if she wins you have to cheer me on,” laughed Jabeur after her 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 win over the Olympic champion in title Belinda Bencic.
In a match that was interrupted by a sudden rainstorm that flooded the pitch, Jabeur put on a show in the final game, displaying his unique touch and pulling off impossible attempts to advance to the last eight.
The win came on a special occasion for the Tunisian as she celebrates Eid with the Muslim world.
“It’s two parties, let’s say. Some people were like, ‘Listen, it’s Eid, you have to win today’. So I did my best,” said Jabeur, 27.
On the men’s side, Gael Monfils beat 20-year-old Spanish joker Carlos Gimeno Valero 6-3, 6-0 to book a second-round encounter with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
It was a tough start in the ATP main draw for Gimeno Valero, who was fired by the former French world number 6 within 55 minutes.
Monfils has never beaten Djokovic in 17 outings but insists he’s not obsessed with trying to get the better of the Serb at least once.
“It’s only for the people, the people that they really want me to (beat him),” said Monfils, who is playing his first clay-court tournament of the season.
“The guy is better than me. Every game is an opportunity to win it. I try to learn from everything, but I don’t care. He can beat me tomorrow. He can beat me in Rome. He can beat at Roland Garros. Maybe I will have one time and that’s it. Who cares in the end?”
Italy’s No.10 seed Jannik Sinner squandered a 5-2 lead in the first set and fought back on the brink in the second en route to a 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7) /4), 6-3 victory over former French Open junior champion Tommy Paul of the United States.
Sinner saved three match points late in the second set and beat Paul as the American served for the win to force a decider and advanced to the second round after three hours of intense battle. His reward is a clash with Australian Alex de Minaur.
Monte Carlo runner-up and home favorite Alejandro Davidovich Fokina reached the second round 7-5, 6-3 against South African Lloyd Harris and faces No. 12 seed Hubert Hurkacz or qualifier Hugo Dellien of Bolivia .



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