MASON, Aug 18: Romanian Simona Halep continued her march towards a first Cincinnati Open title � and, potentially, the No. 1 ranking � with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Anastasija Sevastova in Thursday�s third round.
Halep reached the last eight in Cincinnati for the fifth straight year, contesting the final in 2015 and the semifinals last year in the hard court run-up to the US Open.
She can leapfrog Karolina Pliskova as world number one by winning the title claimed last year by the Czech, who was leading against Italian qualifier Camila Giorgi 3-0 when play was suspended owing to rain.
Halep reeled off the last four games to take the set, helped by Sevastova�s unforced errors on crucial points, and won the first three games of the second set on her way to victory.
Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza overcame a long rain delay in the third set and fought off three match points before advancing to the quarterfinals. The tournament�s No. 4 seed beat American Madison Keys 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3) to extend her successful summer. Since beating Venus Williams for the Wimbledon title, she has reached the quarterfinals of her last three tournaments. � Agencies