Top seed Simona Halep eases into quarter-finals at AEGON Classic

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Simona Halep is through to the quarter finals of the AEGON Classic after a 6-1 6-3 victory, needing just 52 minutes to defeat the Czech qualifier Klara Koukalova.

Koukalova came into this match on a high after a comprehensive thrashing of Carolina Garcia in the previous round but World No.3 Halep clearly provided a much sterner test from the outset, breaking serve on every occasion in the first set which lasted a paltry 19 minutes.

It felt like the Romanian was happy not to force the issue after an early second set break with Koukalova reeling off three straight holds in the middle part of the set, the first of which saw her save three break points to get on the board.

A final break to close out the match would complete a successful afternoons work for Halep, who now extends her run to 12-0 when she is the first seed at the tournament. Yesterday’s withdrawal of Victoria Azarenka places her amongst the favourites to take the title along with Sabine Lisicki and fourth seed Angelique Kerber.

Third seed Carla Suarez Navarro had a much easier time on Ann Jones Centre Court today with a straight sets win over two-time slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3 6-4. The Spaniard came through a tough three setter (her 22nd of the year) yesterday in defeating Timea Babos, needing to come from a break down in the final set against the Hungarian qualifier.

After taking the first with a single break, the second set was much easier for her. She rushed into a 4-1 lead, taking four straight games after Kuznetsova. The third seed had a bit of trouble closing out the match, failing to convert multiple match points but did so with her fourth to move into the semi finals.

Suarez Navarro is set to face the winner of Zarina Diyas and Karolina Pliskova in the next round while Halep will face the impressive Kristina Mladenovic, who continued her good run with a victory over last year’s losing finalist Barbara Zahlavova Strycova in straight sets.

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