DOHA, Qatar - Top seed Simona Halep eased into the last eight of the Qatar Total Open on Wednesday with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko.
Fresh off helping Romania reach the Fed Cup semifinals for the first time in its history, Halep got off to a winning start in Doha as she improved her head-to-head against the Ukrainian No.2 to a perfect 6-0, having lost just one set in their meetings.
"It's always tough to play against her, because she doesn't give pace. She has a strange game in the direction that she feels the ball really well," the Romanian assessed.
"It's not easy to hit the ball from her balls. It's always tough, but I got the feeling against her, and maybe that's why I can win every time I play against her."
Though the World No.3 started quickly on the scoreboard, as she opened up a 5-0 lead to begin the match in the first set, three of the first five games extended past deuce or more.
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After winning the first three games of the match in just over 10 minutes, Halep came through two lengthy battles - first breaking Tsurenko for a second time in a marathon, nine-deuce game to lead 4-0, before saving three break points in a five-deuce affair on her own serve.
The Romanian held off a brief challenge from Tsurenko to seal the first set, and later won the last five games of the match to seal a spot in the last eight, and a return to World No.2 in the rankings.
"Even if I was 3-1 down, I got myself together and I just -- I have been more focused after I lost those games, and I came back stronger. I'm happy that I could win in that way," Halep said.
Halep's foe in the quarterfinals will be No.9 seed Julia Goerges, who won a marathon match against American lucky loser Alison Riske, 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-4, from 4-2 down in the final set.
"t's really tough to say now what I have to do. I know that she has a big serve, has a big forehand. I will see, and I have to be confident because I feel good on court. I have good mood, so I have my chance. I will fight for it," the Romanian said.
"It's a tough one. If I can win, then I will take another one...I enjoy the fact that I feel good and I can play good tennis. Today was a good day, and I feel happy."