Halep overpowers Keys to reach Wuhan semis

Fourth-seeded Romanian Simona Halep has advanced to the semi-finals of the Wuhan Open with a 6-4 `6-2 win over Madison Keys of the United States.

Halep beat the eighth-seeded Keys with powerful groundstrokes to set up a semi-final match against Petra Kvitova.

“It was a great match for me,” Halep said. “I knew she would be very tough because she’s strong and serves really well. But I was moving well and enjoyed my time on the court.”

With the win, Halep improved to 4-1 against Keys and qualified for her third straight appearance at the WTA Finals in Singapore.

It was Halep’s third victory against Keys this year following wins in the third round of Wimbledon and in the final of the Rogers Cup in Montreal.

Halep is joined by Germany’s world No.1 Angelique Kerber, who was knocked out by Kvitova in the last 16 in China, and Serena Williams at the WTA Finals in Singapore.

“It means a lot to qualify… it was one of my goals this year,” said Halep. “It will be my third time in a row competing at the WTA Finals and I hope I play great.”

Kvitova, who made 24 unforced errors, had to rely on her powerful service game, which included seven aces, as Britain’s Johanna Konta failed to break during the 90-minute encounter.

Svetlana Kuznetsova came from match point down to defeat Agnieszka Radwanska 1-6, 7-6 (9), 6-4.

Dominika Cibulkova gave a gutsy performaance to beat Barbora Strycova after both players turned out for both their third round and quarter-final matches on Thursday after rain affected Wednesday’s play.

After completing a 6-2 6-2 upset win over fifth seed Karolina Pliskova in the first match of the day, Cibulkova was back on court for the last one against Strycova, who earlier claimed a 1-6 6-4 7-5 comeback win against Jelena Jankovic.

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