Fourth seed Simona Halep went up against crowd favorite Zhang Shuai for a quarterfinal spot. The latter caused an upset the last time they met in the first round at the Australian Open and Halep was looking for revenge this time round. However, it started in the worst possible way for the Romanian who struggled to find a rhythm as Zhang handed her a first set bagel. Halep bounced back in the second set but was pegged back by the Chinese and in 58 minutes Zhang handed the Romanian her second defeat.
Halep lost; Zhang storms past
It was a forgettable set for the fourth seed. With the rain forcing the match to take place under the roof, it seemed to bother the Romanian the most. Halep barely got her serves going and was making all sorts of errors. Zhang on the other hand rarely missed her shots finding the corners and winning their rallies with her big hitting and clean winners.
It was also the pressure on the Romanian’s serve which caused Halep to lose her first service game. The Chinese hardly struggled on her serve consolidating for a 3-0 lead. Her power play helped by Halep’s mounting errors, Zhang got the double break. The Romanian’s struggles however continued and so while serving to stay in the set at 0-5 down she failed to convert her game points allowing Zhang to persist with her pressure and breaking to take the set 6-0.
Halep’s revival doesn’t last as Zhang takes it home
Halep who won just two points on Zhang’s serve in the first set, turned it around winning four points in a row to break to start the set. The Romanian finally found relief on her own serve to hold for the first time in the match for a 2-0 lead. Halep was hitting more freely and looked to have shrugged off the poor start to gain a 3-1 advantage.
With the Romanian seemingly finding her groove, Zhang started to miss her shots and was soon facing the danger of going down a double break. Halep could not convert and the Chinese dug out an important hold for 2-3. It proved to be vital as the fourth seed’s serve let her down again and a double fault allowed Zhang to get right back in the set for 3-3. She then nosed ahead in the set with a comfortable hold for 4-3.
The momentum was back with the Chinese now as she set up triple break points with a simple backhand winner at the net in the eighth game. Zhang thought she got the break but the call was correctly challenged by the Romanian. Halep had another go to try and salvage the game but the Chinese made no mistake with a thumping winner to notch her fourth game in a row to take a 5-3 lead.
Zhang had the match on her racket with a couple of match points to seal the victory but the Romanian was still fighting forcing a deuce before earning break back point. The Chinese did not falter though fending off the chance before eventually completing the upset for her second win over the Romanian this year.