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3 August, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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Thiem, Halep cruise to victory in Washington

AFP
Thiem, Halep cruise to
victory in Washington
Dominic Thiem of Austria competes against Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland at William H G FitzGerald Tennis Center Washington, DC, on Tuesday. AFP PHOTO

AFP, WASHINGTON: Top seeds Dominic Thiem and Simona Halep cruised into the round of 16 at the ATP and WTA Citi Open with straight-set triumphs Tuesday at the US Open tune-up event.

Austria's seventh-ranked Thiem, a French Open semi-finalist in June, waited out a rain delay then needed only 63 minutes to dispatch 96th-ranked Swiss Henri Laaksonen 6-3, 6-3.

“It wasn't easy but I'm pretty happy with my performance,” Thiem said. “It was my first match on hardcourt since Miami (in March) and that's always a little tricky.”

World number two Halep, this year's French Open runner-up, took only 79 minutes to oust US wildcard Sloane Stephens 7-6 (7/3), 6-0.

“It was a tough first set. I was missing a little bit too much and she made some shots,” Halep said. “Didn't have the rhythm at the beginning, but I feel better now.”

Thiem, who dropped only eight points on his serve and just one on 25 successful first serves, broke in the second game of the match and again in his rival's last two service games, taking the match when Laaksonen netted a backhand.

“I don't have a lack of confidence but it's always nice to get that first win,” Thiem said.

This marks the biggest event where Thiem has been top seeded, but his four nearest rankings rivals are also in the field -- Germany's Alexander Zverev, Japan's Kei Nishikori, Canada's Milos Raonic and Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.

But Thiem faces a possible third-round match Thursday against South Africa's Kevin Anderson, who has beaten him in all five of their career meetings, all on hardcourt and with Thiem taking only one set.

Halep will next face Colombia's 115th-ranked Mariana Duque-Marino for a quarter-final berth as the 25-year-old Romanian keeps her focus on building her game for the US Open that starts on August 28 in New York.

Stephens has been back for only a month after missing nearly a year with a left foot injury, falling to 957th in the rankings. She remains frustrated as she tries to regain the form that saw her claim her first WTA title in Washington in 2015.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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