WTA

Halep a win away from home triumph as Kontaveit closes on WTA Finals berth

By Sports Desk October 30, 2021

Simona Halep progressed to her first final of 2021 as she thrashed Marta Kostyuk to reach the showpiece at the Transylvania Open.

Halep has now reached a WTA final in 12 consecutive seasons after easing to a 6-0 6-1 victory over her teenage opponent.

The two-time grand slam champion faced Kostyuk at Indian Wells three weeks ago and was forced to come from a break down in the first set before prevailing in straight sets.

No such recovery effort was required in Cluj, with Halep progressing to her third final in Romania having twice won the Bucharest Open.

"I really wanted to play the final here. It's a home tournament and always when I come here, I feel great," Halep said. 

"I'm really happy, motivated and I'm looking forward to playing the final tomorrow.

"I knew that I had to play a little bit faster, more aggressive and to open the court a little bit more. There [at Indian Wells], she didn't miss very much as she did today, but I think I took the ball faster and quicker, and the serve helped me today."

"I'm just trying to give my best, trying to be aggressive and enjoy. When I smile inside, it looks better outside. I have the whole country with me when I play at home, so that's why I'm motivated, that's why I feel safe and strong on the court, and I always want to play my best.

"I won twice in Bucharest and, hopefully, tomorrow's the lucky three, but if not, it's still a good result and it's good to be home." 

Halep is unlikely to have it so easy in the final, which sees her face the in-form Anett Kontaveit, who will have added motivation on Sunday.

Kontaveit needed just over an hour to defeat Rebecca Peterson 6-3 6-2, her 25th win in her last 27 matches.

Victory over Halep would see Kontaveit beat Ons Jabeur to the eighth and final spot at the WTA Finals in Guadalajara. However, Halep has won all three of their previous meetings.

At the Courmayeur Open, Clara Tauson will face Donna Vekic in the final after they overcame Liudmila Samsonova and Jasmine Paolini respectively.

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    Irina-Camelia Begu issued an apology after a racquet she threw into the ground bounced into the crowd and struck a child at the French Open.

    The Romanian was playing in a second-round match against Ekaterina Alexandrova and was down a break in the third set when the incident happened.

    The match was suspended as the young boy, who was sitting near the umpire's chair, was left in tears and being comforted by his parents.

    Begu was issued a warning but avoided a default and went on to win the match 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-4.

    She later posed for pictures with the boy and said sorry for her moment of frustration at a post-match news conference.

    "Well, it's an embarrassing moment for me, so I don't want to talk too much about it. I just want to apologise," she said.

    "My whole career I didn't do something like this, and I feel really bad and sorry. So I'm just going to say again, sorry for the incident and it was just an embarrassing moment for me.

    "It was a difficult moment because I didn't want to hit that racquet. You hit the clay with the racquet, but you never expect [it] to fly that much."

    A statement circulated by the French Tennis Federation from tournament referee Remy Azemar said: "The grand slam supervisor spoke with the parents who were with the child. The parents confirmed that the child was fine and not injured."

    It said the racquet had "brushed a young spectator".

    The incident was reminiscent of the 2020 US Open when men's world number one Novak Djokovic was defaulted when a ball he struck in anger hit a line judge.

    Begu faces local favourite Leolia Jeanjean in round three.

  • French Open: Tsitsipas through against "complete player" Kolar French Open: Tsitsipas through against "complete player" Kolar

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    Ekaterina Alexandrova said the "rules were against" her after she lost to Irina-Camelia Begu at the French Open, where her Romanian opponent accidentally hit a child in the crowd with her racket.

    The incident occurred in the third set of the second round match on Thursday, with Begu slamming her racket in frustration after a lost point, inadvertently bouncing it off the court's surface and into the crowd, where it struck the youngster.

    Begu has since apologised, calling it "embarrassing".

    There was a short break in play as officials and supervisors checked on the crying child, before ultimately deciding to give Begu a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct.

    Once play resumed, Begu immediately broke Alexandrova's serve, and won six of the next eight games to seal a 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-4 victory.

    In an Instagram post after her loss, Alexandrova expressed her disappointment, suggesting the rules had been against her.

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    Speaking to the media after her win, Begu was apologetic for her actions.

    "Well, it's an embarrassing moment for me. I just want to apologise," she said. "My whole career I didn't do something like this, and I feel really bad and sorry. 

    "So I'm just going to say again, sorry for the incident and, yeah, it was just an embarrassing moment for me.

    She added: "It was a difficult moment because I didn't want to hit that racket, you know. 

    "You hit the clay with the racket, but you never expect [it] to fly that much. 

    "It was, as I said, embarrassing moment for me, and I just want to end it and not talk about it."

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