WASHINGTON, DC, USA - Top seed Simona Halep survived a second round scare in sweltering conditions at the Citi Open on Thursday, rallying from a set down to defeat Colombia's Mariana Duque-Mariño in three sets, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
In on-court tempearatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, Halep and Duque-Mariño did battle for the first time in six years over one hour, 40 minutes on Stadium court.
The World No.2 started the slower of the two in the tough conditions, as the Colombian won the first three games ahead of the first sit-down, and consolidated her early lead en route to claiming the first set on her third set point.
Duque-Mariño never faced a break point over the course of her first five service games in the opening set, and allowed Halep to win just eight points on return over the course of the entire set.
Halep got off to a quick start in the second set, holding at love and securing her first break of the match to lead 2-0. Though Duque-Mariño quickly got the set back on serve, the top seed quickly rebounded by winning the next three games in a row to build a seemingly comfortable 5-1 lead.
The World No.115 had other ideas, though, as she broke Halep to 15 in her first opportunity serving for the set, and added a love break in the ninth game to get the set back on serve.
Serving to level the set at 5-5, Duque-Mariño and Halep pulled off one of the rallies of the year so far, as the Colombian played some stunning defense before getting back on attack with a stunning dropshot and lob combination -- en route to winning the point with a smash winner.
Though the marathon rally went the Colombian's way, she was unable to hold off Halep for much longer, as the top seed snagged a fourth break of the set to claim it 6-4 and force a decider.
To start the final set, Halep again pocketed an early break to lead 2-0, only to again see the World No.115 respond in the third game to quickly get the set back on serve.
Though Duque-Mariño pulled even her efforts, she was never able to claim another lead in the match, as Halep held and broke to move ahead 4-2, and earned her seventh break of the match to escape with the victory.
With the win, Halep sets up a quarterfinal meeting with No.7 seed Ekaterina Makarova, who defeated Monica Puig, 6-2, 6-4 on Wednesday.