WTA Shenzhen: Simona Halep stunned as quarterfinals take shape

The remaining second round match-ups were played today with second seed Simona Halep, being the biggest scalp of the day. The Romanian lost a three-set battle against Katerina Siniakova. Kristyna Pliskova who was first on court for the day needed just 47 minutes to dismantle qualifier Kai-Chen Chang. In the contest between two qualifiers, it was Nina Stojanovic who defeated Ons Jabeur from a set down. Camila Giorgi rounded up round two action winning a three-hour thriller against Saisai Zheng.

Siniakova sinks Halep

The Czech was all over the Romanian in the early stages and was off to an explosive start opening up a 4-0 lead. Halep eventually stopped the rot with a break back but it wasn’t enough as Siniakova went on to close out the set 6-3. The second set was a topsy-turvy affair which saw exchanges of breaks. Halep looked to have settled as she held for 5-4. The Czech had to serve to stay in the set but nerves got the better of her as Halep pounced on the set point created to bring the match to a third set.

Halep bounces back to take the second set | Photo: STR/Getty Images
Halep bounces back to take the second set | Photo: STR/Getty Images

In the decider, there was more of the cat-and-mouse game involved as neither player looked to hold serve resulting in five straight breaks at the start. Siniakova eventually managed to hold serve to get ahead for 4-2. Halep though, came fighting back and soon it was level at 4-4. At 5-5, the Romanian was pushed by the Czech who carved out break point. She needed no second invitation capitalizing for 6-5. Halep was not going down without a fight and gave everything she had. Siniakova withstood the challenge saving three break points before closing out the 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 victory.

Siniakova completes the upset | Photo: STR/Getty Images
Siniakova completes the upset | Photo: STR/Getty Images

Giorgi triumphs epic encounter with Zheng with comeback win

In the highlight of the day, the pair produced some great tennis with each set taking nearly an hour to complete. Zheng started the better of the two running ahead with a 5-2. However, when serving for the set, allowed Giorgi to get back in and the Italian won four straight games to lead for the first time for 6-5. Zheng brought it to a tiebreaker and eventually clinched the tight first set 7-6(5).

Zheng takes the first set with authority | Photo: Zhong Zhi/Getty Images
Zheng takes the first set with authority | Photo: Zhong Zhi/Getty Images

In the second set, Giorgi had set points on her serve after some fine tennis serving at 5-4. However, Zheng saved both and got the break back to level for 5-5. She was unable to follow it up though losing serve once more before Giorgi kept calm to force a decider. The Italian was finding her groove and the Chinese under pressure was first to succumb allowing Giorgi to carve a 3-2 lead. The Italian delivered another blow earning the double break to serve out at 5-2. However, there was another twist left in the match as Giorgi’s serve was broken. The epic eventually ended as on her second attempt the Italian fended off break points to seal a 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-4 victory.

Giorgi comes from behind to win an epic | Photo: Zhong Zhi/Getty Images
Giorgi comes from behind to win an epic | Photo: Zhong Zhi/Getty Images

Pliskova cruises past Chang

The last time both of them met, it went the way of the Czech. It was a similar story with Pliskova rushing through the first set in quick time. A double break cushion followed by a break as Chang tried to stay in the match gave the Czech a 6-1 set. Chang’s struggles continued as she once again found herself down a double break trailing 1-5. Pliskova who thus far had not put a wrong foot, however, gave Chang double break point in a poor game. Chang took the gift and recovered one of the breaks for 2-5. Alas, it was too little too late as Pliskova took charge once more and on her third match point sealed the set and a comfortable 6-1, 6-2 win.

Pliskova races into the quarterfinals | Photo: Zhong Zhi/Getty Images
Pliskova races into the quarterfinals | Photo: Zhong Zhi/Getty Images

Stojanovic wins battle of qualifiers

A single break in the first set was sufficient for Jabeur to grab the first set off her higher ranked opponent. Stojanovic did not get off to the best of starts in the second set going down an immediate break. In a mammoth fourth game, she eventually broke down the Tunisian’s defense to get back on level terms. The same thing happened with Jabeur doing all she can to fend off break points but again succumbed to hand Stojanovic a 4-2 lead. The Serbian hung on to her lead and forced a third set. Jabeur could not recover from the early break and Stojanovic went on to wrap up a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory.

Stojanovic overcomes a three-set battle | Photo: Zhong Zhi/Getty Images
Stojanovic overcomes a three-set battle | Photo: Zhong Zhi/Getty Images

Quarterfinals set

Pliskova will take on third seed Johanna Konta for a spot in the semifinals. Qualifier Stojanovic will contest against Siniakova. While in the only all-seeded affair, top seed Agnieszka Radwanska will battle eighth seed Alison Riske. Giorgi will round off the action against Qiang Wang.

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