No.4 seed Simona Halep dropped just five games to see off Barbora Strycova in the second round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.
WTA Staff

STUTTGART, Germany - No.4 seed Simona Halep proved to be largely untroubled by Barbora Strycova to be the first woman through to the quarterfinals at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.

The 6-2, 6-3 victory was one of runs for the No.4 seed, as she reeled off six straight games to claim the opener, as well as four of the last five in the match.

"I played really well," Halep assessed post-match. "I was aggressive, I didn’t miss much, I was focused, concentrated on what I have to do. I did some winners, I served well, so everything went very well for me today.

"She’s changing the rhythm and it’s not easy to play against her. I knew her from previous matches and I knew that I had to step into the court and just to play fast."

Halep stroked a tidy 19 winners to just 12 unforced errors in the match, and converted six of her eight total break point opportunities to seal the victory in one hour, 14 minutes.

"This match is building my confidence for sure and after that weekend [in Fed Cup] that I played good matches at home, I came here with confidence. This match looked pretty easy but was not because she’s changing the rhythm and it’s not easy to play against her."

After breaking the Halep serve in the opening game of the match on her third opportunity and holding at love to lead 2-0, the Czech largely struggled behind her delivery for the rest of the match.

Though Strycova landed 77 percent of her first serves in the opening set, Halep was effective on return, winning nearly 60 percent of the points played in Strycova's service games. 

The 31-year-old Czech dropped serve to 15 to get the match even at 2-2, before another break to 15 put Halep ahead, 4-2. Strycova had a pair of game points to win the seventh game, Halep would not be denied and wrapped up on the opener on her first opportunity.

Halep's streak reached eight straight games as she held and broke to open the second set, though Strycova hit back quickly to level the set at 2-2, and later broke the Halep serve on a second occasion in the seventh game to get the match back on serve.

The World No.5 has now won the last three meetings against the Czech, and will face the winner of the match between No.6 seed Johanna Konta and Anastasija Sevastova for a place in the semifinals.

"In the Fed Cup, I played a good match [against Konta]," Halep said. "That doesn’t mean that I will win every match against her. She is a tough opponent and it’s not easy to play against her, but I have confidence that I can win now against her.

"[Sevastova] is a strong player as well. It’s always difficult to play against her because she has a different game. It’s a little bit flatter and a little bit under the ball, but I played against her once last year. I know what I have to do but still it’s going to be difficult."