Simona Halep eased to victory over compatriot Elena-Gabriela Ruse on home soil in Romania to advance through to the last 16 of the Transylvania Open.

Ruse won her first WTA title at the Hamburg European Open in July and reached the final of the Palermo Ladies Open later that month, but she was second best against Halep.

The top seed produced a commanding performance as she held serve throughout and broke her opponent twice in both sets to progress 6-1 6-2 in a time of 73 minutes.

Halep, who departed at the quarter-final stage of the Kremlin Cup last week, is on course to meet US Open winner Emma Raducanu in the semi-finals in Cluj.

Anett Kontaveit also prevailed on Wednesday with a straight-sets win of her own, the second seed seeing off Aleksandra Krunic 6-3 7-5.

The 25-year-old, seeking her third WTA 500 indoor trophy in the space of two months, made the most of some Krunic errors to set up a last-16 tie with Alison Van Uytvanck.

Anhelina Kalinina earlier beat Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-2 6-2 to become the first player to book their place in the quarter-finals.

At the Courmayeur Open in Italy, top seed Dayana Yastremska required three sets to overcome Kateryna Kozlova 6-1 3-6 7-5.

Clara Tauson and Ann Li also avoided upsets as they beat Giulia Gatto-Monticone and Kamilla Rakhimova respectively.

Anett Kontaveit will face Ekaterina Alexandrova in the Kremlin Cup final after maintaining her magnificent form with a straight-sets defeat of Marketa Vondrousova.

Ninth seed Kontaveit ousted Vondrousova in Moscow on Saturday with a commanding 6-3 6-4 victory.

The Estonian had lost both of her previous two meetings with Vondrousova, but needed only an hour and 14 minutes to reach her fifth final this year.

Kontaveit struck 26 winners, with her backhand a potent weapon, and broke five times – three of those coming in the first set after she failed to hold in the first game of the match.

The 25-year-old Tallinn native has lost only two of her past 22 matches, while her winning run indoors now stands at nine.

Standing in the way of Kontaveit and a fourth title in 2021 is home hope Alexandrova, who advanced to her first WTA 500 final when Maria Sakkari retired due to dizziness.

Alexandrova was leading 4-1 in the opening set when the fourth seed from Greece decided she was unable to continue.

There will be an unseeded champion at the Tenerife Open after Colombian Camila Osorio beat Camila Giorgi 6-4 7-5.

Ann Li will play in her second title-decider of the year courtesy of an emphatic 6-2 6-1 triumph over Alize Cornet.

Maria Sakkari admitted she got twitchy before finishing off Simona Halep to reach the Kremlin Cup semi-finals.

The Greek star is chasing what would be just her second career title at WTA level, but the limited silverware belies her growing reputation: Sakkari has shot up to a career-high seventh in the world rankings during her best season on tour.

Looking to finish with a flourish, both in Moscow and next month at the season-ending WTA Finals, Sakkari scored a 6-4 6-4 victory over former world number one Halep on Friday.

The victory sets up a last-four clash with Ekaterina Alexandrova, after the Russian impressed a home crowd by landing a 6-3 6-4 win against top seed Aryna Sabalenka.

Yet Sakkari was almost reeled in by Halep from the point of victory in the second set, being unable to finish off the match on her own serve after building a 5-1 lead. Halep twice broke back, before dropping her own serve.

"It was a very tough match today," Sakkari said in an on-court interview. "It was the first time I'd played Simona, but I knew what to expect: she makes a lot of balls, more than any other player. I had a tough moment in the second set when I was 5-1 up, but finally, I found a way. I got a little nervous, a little bit tired.

"The last couple of months have been tough, I've been travelling a lot so haven't recovered enough. I just tried harder in the last game and just went for it."

Alexandrova's shock win over Sabalenka gave her a sixth career victory over a top-10 player. Second seed Garbine Muguruza followed Sabalenka out of the tournament, walloped 6-1 6-1 by in-form Estonian Anett Kontaveit, who has won 19 of her last 21 matches on tour, including beating Sakkari in the Ostrava final last month.

Kontaveit's semi-final opponent at the WTA 500 event will be Marketa Vondrousova, who claimed a 6-4 6-2 win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

At the Tenerife Open, Italian Camila Giorgi is the only seeded survivor in the semi-finals. The Italian fourth seed saw off Arantxa Rus 6-1 6-1, with Frenchwoman Alize Cornet and American Ann Li also among Friday's winners at the WTA 250 tournament.

Angelique Kerber was knocked out in the Californian desert after a straight-sets quarter-final defeat to Paula Badosa at the WTA Indian Wells Open.

Badosa, who made this year's French Open quarter-finals, squandered two match points at 5-2 in the second set against three-time grand slam champion Kerber before steadying to secure her fifth final-four appearance of the season on Thursday.

In the semi-finals, Badosa will face Tunisian 12th seed Ons Jabeur, who got past Anna Kontaveit in straight sets, confirming her historic rise into the top 10 of the rankings, as the first-ever Arab player to achieve the singles feat on either the WTA or ATP Tour.

 

KERBER TOPPLED BY BADOSA

Former world number one and 10th seed Kerber bowed out at Indian Wells, with Badosa triumphing 6-4 7-5 in 86 minutes.

In her Indian Wells debut, 21st seed Badosa responded strongly after fluffing two match points to become the first Spanish woman to make the event's semi-finals in 18 years.

"It sounds amazing," Badosa said during her on-court interview. "The second set was very mental. I wanted this match so badly. I got super nervous.

"For one second I thought who was on the other side of the net and I got more nervous against a three-time grand slam champion. It means a lot to me. It's amazing."

In the first set, Badosa broke Kerber at 4-4 before serving out the opening set where she was excellent on her first serve, staving off the German's only two break points.

The Spaniard raced to a 5-2 lead in the second set and had two match points on Kerber's serve. The experienced Kerber responded by holding serve and then breaking back, before levelling at 5-5.

But Badosa showed her mettle by winning the final two games, breaking Kerber for victory as she upped her level.

 

JABEUR SEALS TOP-10 BERTH WITH TRIUMPH

Jabeur defeated Estonian 18th seed Kontaveit 7-5 6-3 to move into the top 10 for the first time in her career.

The Tunisian will become the first Arab player to make the top 10 when the updated WTA rankings are made official on Monday, but she also qualified for the biggest semi-final of her career to date.

"It feels amazing," Jabeur said. "We've been working hard since years. When I spoke at the end of last season, I said I wanted to be in the top 10. People doubted us as a team, we proved them wrong.

"Being a top 10 means a lot but we're not going to stop here. We're going to go further hopefully."

Jabeur, who made this year's Wimbledon quarter-finals, triumphed in 86 minutes, although she did not have it all her way, in a match full of momentum swings.

The 27-year-old Jabeur had been a double break up at 4-1 in the first set before Kontaveit hit back to level at 5-5, only for her to break back immediately and serve out the set.

Jabeur broke Kontaveit to love at 3-3, rattling off the final three games, including two breaks, to secure victory and keep alive her hopes of making the WTA Finals.

Iga Swiatek was knocked out of the Indian Wells Open in the round of 16, the second seed headlining the list of casualties on Tuesday.

Swiatek was swept aside by Jelena Ostapenko in the battle between two previous French Open champions in the desert.

Elina Svitolina, reigning Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova and US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez were also sent packing from the WTA Premier 1000 event.

 

SWIATEK CRUMBLES

After top seed Karolina Pliskova was eliminated on Monday, 2020 French Open champion Swiatek crashed out following a 6-4 6-3 defeat to Ostapenko.

Ostapenko – the 2017 Roland Garros winner – rallied from a break down in each set to reach the quarter-finals at Indian Wells, where the 24th seed hit 25 winners to 21 unforced errors in 93 minutes.

"I knew it was going to be a very tough match because she's such a great player, she won a grand slam and she's playing great tennis," Ostapenko said.

Standing in the way of Ostapenko and the semi-finals is Shelby Rodgers, who edged Flushing Meadows finalist Fernandez 2-6 6-1 7-6 (7-4).

 

SVITOLINA UPSTAGED BY PEGULA

Svitolina's campaign in the desert did not go according to plan, the fourth seed crushed 6-1 6-1 by Jessica Pegula.

Pegula – the 2021 Australian Open quarter-finalist – dismantled Svitolina in just 68 minutes for her seventh last-eight appearance of the season and fourth at WTA 1000 level.

"I think I've just been making a lot of really good decisions in the right moments," said Pegula, who will face two-time grand slam champion Victoria Azarenka following her seventh top-10 victory. "That obviously comes with playing a lot of matches, winning and getting confidence... it's just been more belief that I can play at this level. I think this year, I realised that, and I've been having good results."

 

KERBER POWERS THROUGH AS KREJCIKOVA FALLS

Three-time major winner and 10th seed Kerber will feature in the quarter-finals after overpowering Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4 6-1.

Kerber will next meet 21st seed Paula Badosa, who shocked third seed and reigning French Open champion Krejcikova 6-1 7-5.

"I think I played a pretty good match today," Badosa said. "I knew I had to play on a high level against Barbora. She's an amazing player, very talented. We played before so I knew what I was going to find there on court. I'm feeling good and I'm very happy that I could play my best today."

Top seed Karolina Pliskova suffered a shock defeat while defending champion Bianca Andreescu and Coco Gauff also were on the wrong end of upsets Monday at the Indian Wells Open. 

World number 115 Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil stunned Pliskova in straight sets to reach the round of 16 at a WTA Premier 1000 event for the first time.

The 15th and 16th seeds, Gauff and Andreescu, also exited in two sets, albeit to seeded players. 

 

LUCKY LOSER OUSTS PLISKOVA 

Haddad Maia lost in the final round of qualifying but made the main draw as a lucky loser when Nadia Podoroska withdrew through injury, and she has made the most of that reprieve with a 6-3 7-5 defeat of the world number three. 

She had faced Pliskova once before and it did not go well, a 6-1 6-1 rout at the 2018 Australian Open, but the Czech struggled to find her trademark serve amid powerful winds in the California desert.

Pliskova suffered 12 double faults and won just 43.4 per cent of points on her serve, whole Haddad Maia saved nine of the 14 break points she faced on her own serve. 

 

KONTAVEIT STAYS HOT TO DETHRONE ANDREESCU

Haddad Maia next faces 18th seed Annett Kontaveit, who ousted Andreescu 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 to end the Canadian's dreams of a repeat. 

Kontaveit has won 15 of her last 16 matches, winning titles in Cleveland and Ostrava during that stretch. Monday, she captured the first set on her fifth set point before rallying from a 3-1 deficit in the second to run the table and seal the win.

"It was extremely close throughout the match and I was just trying to stay tough. I was ready for a tough match," Kontaveit said. "She's such a good player, such a great competitor, so I knew it wasn't going to be over until it was really over."

 

BADOSA BOUNCES GAUFF

Paula Badosa, the 21st seed, breezed past Gauff 6-2 6-2 as the American teen also had trouble with her serve, hitting just two aces after recording 12 in her previous match. 

In a meeting of the last two defeated finalists in the tournament, 10th seed Angelique Kerber beat 20th seed Daria Kasatkina 6-2 1-6 6-4. 

Third seed Barbora Krejcikova handled Amanda Anisimova with ease, 6-2 6-3. 

Ons Jabeur, the 12th seed, had little trouble in downing 22nd seed Danielle Collins 6-1 6-3. 

Anett Kontaveit sealed a second title of the season as she overcame Maria Sakkari in straight sets at the Ostrava Open.

The unseeded Estonian, who is ranked 30th in the world, saw off fourth seed Sakkari 6-2 7-5 to claim the trophy in the Czech Republic.

Kontaveit has now won two tournaments in four weeks, having won in Cleveland last month to end a four-year wait since winning her first title in 2017.

This was Sakkari's first final in over two years as well, but Kontaveit cruised past the Greek in just over an hour and a half as she did not drop a set all week.

That flawless level of tennis saw her eliminate Petra Kvitova, Paula Badosa and Belinda Bencic en route to the final, where the 25-year-old faced only one break point as she powered to a comfortable victory over a player who reached semi-finals at the French Open and US Open this year.

Sakkari managed more of a fight in the second set, where she battled for her sole break point, but Kontaveit breezed past any pressure and kept her serve to maintain control.

Sakkari, who is likely to move into the top 10 despite losing, had boasted a 5-3 head-to-head record in main-draw clashes between the pair coming into Sunday's final, but 23 unforced errors outnumbered the 20 winners from her racket as Kontaveit collected her most notable title to date.

Anett Kontaveit made home hope Petra Kvitova her latest Ostrava Open scalp as there were upsets in both semi-finals on Saturday. 

Kontaveit faced second seed Kvitova having previously toppled Paula Badosa and Belinda Bencic in straight sets. 

Her last-four victory was even more comprehensive, as Kvitova went down 6-0 6-4 in 71 minutes. 

Kontaveit advances to her fourth final of 2021 and avoids facing Iga Swiatek, who defeated her at the US Open – her only loss since winning the Tennis in the Land title last month. 

But the Estonian must take on the woman who knocked her out of the Olympic Games in Maria Sakkari. 

Number four seed Sakkari took down top seed Swiatek 6-4 7-5 to make her first WTA Tour final since 2019. 

Sakkari had lost nine consecutive semi-finals since then, while Swiatek had never lost at this stage of a tour-level event, but the Greek was a deserving victor. 

Anett Kontaveit beat Olympic champion Belinda Bencic and will face home favourite Petra Kvitova for a place in the Ostrava Open final.

Estonian Kontaveit, ranked 30th in the world, claimed her fourth top-20 win of the season as she prevailed 6-4 6-3 on Friday.

Kontaveit also defeated Bencic in the 2020 Australian Open, meaning she is 2-0 in their head-to-head rivalry.

Czech left-hander Kvitova awaits in the last four, after the second seed defeated Bencic's Swiss compatriot Jil Teichmann 6-4 6-4.

Teichmann beat Kvitova in their only previous meeting, but the world number 10 had too much on this occasion, along with the backing of the crowd to boot as she chases a 29th singles title of her career.

The other semi-final will see top seed Iga Swiatek face Maria Sakkari.

Last year's French Open winner Swiatek reached her first semi-final since May – when she landed the prestigious title in Rome – by overcoming Elena Rybakina 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.

Sakkari, meanwhile, ended Tereza Martincova's hopes in straight sets.

Greek star Sakkari ended Swiatek's reign as Roland Garros champion in June, beating the Polish 20-year-old in the quarter-finals in Paris.

Anett Kontaveit ended a four-year title drought by beating Irina-Camelia Begu to win the inaugural Tennis in the Land event on Saturday.

Kontaveit had failed to win a tournament since her maiden WTA Tour triumph in 's-Hertogenbosch back in 2017 before defeating Begu 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

The world number 30 from Estonia had lost two finals this year, but she was not to be denied in Cleveland.

Begu fought back from 5-2 down in the first set to force a tie-break, but one mini-break was enough for second seed Kontaveit to take a big stride towards an elusive title.

The composed Kontaveit did not face a break point in a tight second set, not allowing her Romanian opponent a look-in as she served superbly.

Kontaveit only had one break-point opportunity of her own, but grasped it to lead 2-1 and went on to seal a confidence-boosting triumph ahead of the US Open.

Sam Stosur will be Kontaveit's opponent in the first round at Flushing Meadows, while Begu faces Andrea Petkovic.

Elina Svitolina is in position to win her first title of 2021 after outlasting Rebecca Peterson to reach the Chicago Women's Open final. 

After dropping just one game in her quarter-final win over Kristina Mladenovic, Svitolina needed nearly two and a half hours to dispatch Peterson 6-1 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 on Friday.

The top seed will seek her 16th career WTA Tour title against ninth-seeded Alize Cornet, who rallied to defeat Varvara Gracheva 4-6 6-1 6-0 in the other semi. 

Gracheva's capitulation after winning the first set was understandable, as earlier in the day she had finished off a quarter-final upset of eighth seed Marta Kostyuk in a match that had been suspended due to darkness Thursday. 

Gracheva prevailed 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 6-4 in that contest, with play on Friday beginning late in the second set, but did not have enough to pull out another win. 

The final will feature the eighth head-to-head meeting between Svitolina and Cornet, with the Ukrainian holding a 4-3 edge. 

At Tennis in the Land, second seed Anett Kontaveit defeated seventh seed Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-4 6-4 in one semi-final. 

She will meet Irina-Camelia Begu in the final of the Cleveland tournament after the unseeded Romanian upset sixth seed Magda Linette 7-6 (7-5) 6-2. 

Kontaveit won her first WTA title at Guadalajara earlier this year, while Begu will be seeking her fifth Tour title and first since 2017.

Elina Svitolina produced a merciless performance as the top seed blitzed Kristina Mladenovic to advance to the Chicago Women's Open semi-finals.

Mladenovic was no match for Svitolina, who steamrolled the seventh seed in a brutal 6-1 6-0 victory at the WTA 250 tournament on Thursday.

Ukrainian star Svitolina reeled off the last 11 games to set up a semi-final clash with Rebecca Peterson.

Peterson moved through 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 4-1 after Tereza Martincova retired hurt.

French ninth seed Alize Cornet rallied past fifth seed Marketa Vondrousova 2-6 6-4 6-3, while eighth seed Marta Kostyuk won the first set 7-6 (7-4) but trailed Varvara Gracheva 5-3 in the second before the match was suspended due to darkness.

At Tennis in the Land, top seed Daria Kasatkina was upstaged by Magda Linette 6-1 6-2 in the quarter-finals.

Second seed Anett Kontaveit survived 6-3 5-7 7-2 against Katerina Siniakova in Cleveland, while fellow seed Sara Sorribes Tormo also won through to set up a semi-final clash.

Top seed Elina Svitolina had no trouble booking her spot in the Chicago Women's Open quarter-finals on the same day Venus Williams and Sofia Kenin pulled out of the US Open.

Svitolina made light work of Fiona Ferro on Wednesday, cruising to a 6-4 6-4 victory at the WTA 250 tournament.

The Ukrainian star and bronze medallist at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo will face seventh seed Kristina Mladenovic in the quarters.

Marketa Vondrousova – the fifth seed, ninth seed Alize Cornet, Tereza Martincova and Rebecca Peterson also moved through from the round of 16.

At Tennis in the Land, second seed Anett Kontaveit secured a quarter-final berth by topping Caroline Garcia 6-3 6-3 in Cleveland.

Meanwhile, Williams and Kenin withdrew from next week's US Open at Flushing Meadows.

Williams – a two-time US Open champion – will not compete in New York due to a persistent leg injury, joining sister Serena in sitting out the year's final grand slam.

"It's super, super, super disappointing," Williams said in a video via her Twitter and Instagram accounts. "I'm having some issues with my leg all this summer, and just couldn't work through it.

"I tried my best here in Chicago [at the WTA 250 Chicago Women's Open], but I just was unable to figure out the equation. And there's been so many times where I've been able to figure it out, even not in the best of my health, but this time, I just couldn't make any miracles work."

Kenin – the 2020 Australian Open champion – withdrew after testing positive for coronavirus.

"Fortunately I am vaccinated and thus my symptoms have been fairly mild," Kenin tweeted. "However I have continued to test positive and thus will not be able to compete at the US Open next week."

"I plan to spend the next several weeks getting healthy and preparing to play well this fall. Thank you all for supporting me. I want to wish all the players the best of luck in New York."

Jelena Ostapenko has targeted a return to the top 10 of the WTA rankings after beating Anett Kontaveit in straight sets to win the Viking International in Eastbourne.

The Latvian was the first wildcard to reach the final since Daniela Hantuchova in 2000 and kept up her good form ahead of Wimbledon by beating Kontaveit 6-3 6-3.

French Open 2017 winner Ostapenko dominated from the start and picked up the victory in one hour and five minutes, adding to her three previous career WTA titles.

She has now won titles on all four surfaces – clay, hard, indoor and grass – and is hopeful of improving on her current ranking of 43rd in the world.

"I think it says that I can be dangerous and playing well on all surfaces probably," she said in her on-court interview. 

"Of course I enjoy to play more on just some of them, but in general I can adjust well to different surfaces.

"I think this is just the beginning for me. If I keep playing the way I played this tournament, I think I can be back in top 10 and play well.

"I just have to keep that in my mind and work even harder."

Ostapenko made good use of her strong service game to break Kontaveit's serve in the third and fifth games.

Kontaveit earned a first break in the eighth game with four service return winners in a row, but Ostapenko recovered from 40-15 in the next game to take the opening set.

It was then plain sailing for Ostapenko in the second set as she earned the only break at 2-1 and held for the remainder, clinching the victory with her second championship point.

Ostapenko will face Leylah Fernandez in the first round of Wimbledon next week.

Angelique Kerber won two games on Friday to progress to the final of the inaugural Bad Homburg Open, with unseeded Katerina Siniakova her opponent.

Kerber made home advantage count, following up a 2-6 6-3 6-3 quarter-final win over Amanda Anisimova – a match that was pushed back from Thursday when rain washed out play – with a triumph over top seed Petra Kvitova.

The former world number one came back from behind to win 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3) and take a spot in her first WTA singles final since 2019.

Kerber and Kvitova have now met 15 times, with the German winning on nine occasions.

She will go up against an unexpected finalist in the form of Siniakova, who defeated Sara Sorribes Tormo.

The Czech is the world number two in doubles, winning three grand slam titles in that format, and will be looking to replicate the feat of her regular partner Barbora Krejcikova, who triumphed at the French Open this year.

At the Viking International in Eastbourne, Jelena Ostapenko made light work of Elena Rybakina, while Anett Kontaveit made it into the final due to Camila Giorgi's retirement.

Latvian wildcard Ostapenko finished her 6-4 6-1 victory with zero double faults – the first time she has managed such a performance since winning in Luxembourg two years ago.

"I'm really happy with the way I played this week, and every match I played better and better," Ostapenko told a news conference after clinching a spot in her ninth career final.

"It's been a while [since making a] final, so I'm really happy to be in a final and looking forward to tomorrow's match."

The 2017 French Open champion will face Estonia's Kontaveit, who has won their previous two meetings and was 5-4 up in the opening set against Giorgi when her opponent retired hurt.

"It's actually nice to have a Baltic final, because [we're] not such big countries, but we still have good players," Ostapenko added.

"Anett, I know since juniors. We have been playing a lot, maybe not so many matches but we practice sometimes together, in juniors, and played even doubles. So I know her quite well."

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