The Prague Open continues to be delayed by rain as play continued with four quarterfinal matches, three of which were completed. The winners were top seed Simona Halep, third seed Elise Mertens and Kristyna Pliskova while the contest between Irina-Camelia Begu and Sara Sorribes Tormo was stopped due to the weather.
Halep blasts Polish lucky loser to reach semifinals
Playing by far her best match of the week, the top-seeded Romanian cruised past Magdalena Frech 6-2, 6-0 in just 59 minutes. After struggling earlier in the week in three-set victories over Polona Hercog and Barbora Krejcikova, Halep was sharp throughout, winning the final seven games against a tired Frech, who was playing her sixth match of the week.
"The whole game was better today", she said after the match. "I'm happy I can play better and better day by day. It was a good one and I'll take it.
"It was not easy for her, as she played a tough match yesterday. I think I hit the ball stronger, opened up the court better and I finished some drive volleys.
"It was good because the ball was coming a bit softer than yesterday (against Krejcikova) so I just had to go there and be aggressive."
It's unclear who the top seed will face in the semifinals as Begu and Sorribes Tormo had their quarterfinal match suspended due to rain with Begu, who saved three match points earlier in the day against Leonie Kung, ahead 6-2, 0-1.
Mertens, Pliskova set up semifinal
Third seed Mertens was made to work hard for her victory against Eugenie Bouchard, slipping past the Canadian 6-4, 1-6, 6-4. Neither player could break through on the other's serve, although Mertens saved a break point in the third game until Bouchard missed long on set point in the tenth game.
The world number 330 hit back, breaking to open the second set and after saving a break point, ran through the rest of the set in just 31 minutes to level the match. The decisive moment of the final set came in the fifth game when Mertens broke on her fourth chance and she saw out the match from there.
"She hit the ball well today, she made me run a lot", the Belgian assessed after her win. "Her serve is tough to return. All credit to her for making me have a tough match. In the end it was a mental game. I think it was physical, mental, maybe more mentally at the end.
"The games were pretty close, the first set was pretty close, the second set she played really well, made fewer mistakes, became more aggressive, but I think at the end, it was just that one break. Just one service game made the difference."
Pliskova advanced to the last four after Ana Bogdan retired with a leg injury leading 5-2 in the second set and will face Mertens for a spot in the final.