WTA Cincinnati: Simona Halep knocks out Johanna Konta in tight two-setter

The Romanian notched her first win against the Brit, needing just under two hours to knock out Konta.

WTA Cincinnati: Simona Halep knocks out Johanna Konta in tight two-setter
Simona Halep fist pumps after breaking Johanna Konta (Noel Alberto/VAVEL USA)
Simona Halep
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Johanna Konta

Johanna Konta and Simona Halep have been known to play thrillers, and their quarterfinal at the Western and Southern Open was no different. There were many breaks of serve and long, grueling rallies in this one, just like their other showdowns. This time, it was Halep who edged the Brit, 6-4, 7-6(1), to notch her first win against the Brit and set up a showdown with Sloane Stephens for a spot in the final

Halep Takes Tight Opening Set

The Romanian saved a break point in her opening service game but was unable to fend off the Brit in her second service game as Konta grabbed the 2-1 lead. Halep was able to strike back, correctly challenging the overrule by the chair umpire on Konta's ball that was ruled in. 

After holding for 3-2, Halep set up a second break point hitting an outrageous winner on a forehand pass right by Konta at the net. The Romanian continued to assert herself in this set, saving triple break point.

The seventh-seeded Brit was able to put pressure on Halep by breaking on her third attempt for 4-5. However, she was unable to level the set as an errant forehand gave Halep the opening set 6-4. 

Halep looks up as she challenges a call
Halep looks up as she challenges a call (Noel Alberto/VAVEL USA)
 

Halep Hangs On To Knockoff Konta

Konta opened up with two break chances after hitting a backhand winner down the line. A couple of errors from Konta brought it back to deuce. The seven seed would strike first after an errant shot from Halep. 

The Brit found herself in trouble this time, going down 0-40. Halep took it at the second time asking, chasing down a drop shot and hitting a winner right past Konta. Halep would hold for the slight 2-1 edge. Halep had break point once again and hit an aggressive return right on the line. She took the break by finishing it off with a cross-court forehand.

The second seed continued to assert her dominance in the set, breaking out to a 4-1 lead. Konta held for two-all but was still looking for that elusive break to get back into the match. With Konta serving to stay in the match, she was pushed to 0-30. The Brit was able to come through with a couple of huge shots to force the second-seeded Romanian to serve out for the match. 

Konta hitting a forehand vs Halep
Konta hitting a forehand vs Halep (Noel Alberto/VAVEL USA)
 

The Brit's groundstrokes were not on point as they usually were, as two errors put her down 30-0 with Halep serving for her first career win over the Brit. A powerful crosscourt forehand set up double match point for the Romanian, but Konta would not back down, hitting a forehand winner right on the line.

Another forehand winner, this time down the line, forced deuce. Konta, with nothing to lose, put Halep on the run and capped off the point with a backhand winner to get break point. She was unable to convert though but earned another chance to break after putting another forehand winner away. The Brit kept attacking and her persistence paid off, breaking for 4-5.

A strong service game from the Wimbledon semifinalist leveled the match at five apiece. Konta would get two chances to break and serve out for the set at 6-5, but a volley winner and a netted forehand brought it back to deuce. The French Open finalist held for 6-5 as the pressure was squarely back on Konta's shoulders. 

A couple of errant groundstrokes for Konta put her on the ropes as Halep held triple match point. A couple of aces, including a kick serve ace on the second serve, brought her back to deuce. The seventh seed was able to hold for a second set tiebreak. 

Halep struck first in the tiebreak, grabbing a mini-break as Konta bricked a volley then hit a poor drop shot as Halep went up 3-0. The second seed extended her lead to 5-1 on the changeover. A double-fault from the Brit made it a handful of match points for Halep. The Romanian finished the match off with a forehand winner to notch her first win over the Brit.