Halep survives Paolini scare, advances to Linz semi-finals

Two-time Grand-Slam champion Simona Halep headlined Wednesday’s quarterfinals action. She overcame a one-set deficit to outlast No. 7 seed Jasmine Paolini of Italy 4-6,7-5, 6-0 in front of an enthusiastic crowd inside the TipsArena. The second-seeded Romanian capitalized on seven of her 16 break-point opportunities and won 13 points more than her rival to secure victory in two hours and 14 minutes.

“I am very relieved that I could win this match,” Halep told tournament ambassador Barbara Schett during her on-court interview. “It was a tough one. She played so fast and powerful. At the beginning, I didn’t have time to do anything on court but then I just tried to play more slices, changing the rhythm. I just cut it, was more aggressive and dominated the match in the end.”

Asked about her mental approach during the match, Halep responded: “I believed that I have a chance to turn it around and to win it. I didn’t give up and I am happy that I could do it 100 per cent today.”

World No. 51 Halep, who is seeking her first WTA trophy of the season, will next take on lucky loser Jaqueline Cristian. The 23-year-old Romanian continued her fine run of form with a 6-3, 7-6(5) victory over No. 4 seed Veronika Kudermetova of Russia.

Riske to face Collins in all-US-American clash

Earlier in the day, Alison Riske ended the run of 106th-ranked Chinese qualifier Wang Xinyu, who upset top seed Emma Raducanu on Tuesday.

After winning the opening set, the No. 8 seed from the United States rallied from 5-2 down in the second, taking five straight games and prevailed 6-3, 7-5 after one hour and 29 minutes.

“I do not blow a lot of people from the court with my groundstrokes or my serve but if I can compete from beginning to end is a huge strength of me,” Riske said after the match. The World No. 73 will next face her compatriot and third seed Danielle Collins, who edged past Alison van Uytvanck from Belgium 7-5, 6-3.

“We are good friends. Danielle is amazing,” Riske praised her upcoming opponent. “She has the best personality. You can not have a bad time if you are around Danielle. She is an inspiration. She has had an awesome year. Honestly, she is pretty unstoppable. So, it’s going to be a battle and I am definitely looking forward to it.”

Collins won the only previous meeting between the two on clay at Madrid in 2018.