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Simona Halep

WIMBLEDON - Halep into third round; Konta, Bouchard exit

Thu, July 05, 2018 19:50

LONDON, July 5, 2018 (News Wires) - Top seed and French Open champion Simona Halep reached the Wimbledon third round on Thursday with a 7-5, 6-0 win over China's Zheng Saisai.

World No 1 Halep, a semifinalist at Wimbledon in 2014, will face Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan for a place in the last 16.

The Romanian raced away with the 10 last games to beat the 126-ranked Zheng.

Britain's Johanna Konta joined the exodus of women's seeds at Wimbledon on Thursday, beaten 6-3 6-4 by Dominica Cibulkova, a player with a point to prove.

Konta became the first British woman to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals since 1978 last year, losing to Venus Williams, but her hopes of repeating that thrilling run were crushed by an inspired Slovakian on a subdued Centre Court.

Cibulkova missed out on the 32nd seeding when Wimbledon's seedings committee bumped seven-times champion Serena Williams up the order and she played with a fierce intent throughout.

Konta, seeded 22, could do nothing to stem the tide of winners as Cibulkova stormed ahead.

She showed real guts to save four match points at 3-5 in the second set as the crowd rallied to the cause.

But Cibulkova showed no nerves as she served for victory, going 40-0 up and finishing off the Briton with a powerful first serve that Konta could only fend into the net.

"It feels great, it was a tough draw today and I could not be more happy with my performance," Cibulkova, twice a quarter-finalist, said. "I don't really think about the seeding now, I'll just focus on my tennis."

Cibulkova will play Elise Mertens for a last 16 spot.

Eugenie Bouchard's hopes of emulating her 2014 run to the final were hit for six by former professional cricket player Ashleigh Barty in the second round.

The Canadian, whose ranking has fallen to 188th from a career-high five in 2014, had to contest three qualifying matches just to make into the main draw at the All England Club.

The effort of winning four matches over the past week to get into round two appeared to have taken its toll on Bouchard as she could do little to stop 17th seed Barty storming back from 5-2 down in the second set to seal a 6-4 7-5 victory.

Bouchard even had a set point at 5-3 up on Barty's serve but the Australian, who took a two-year break from tennis in 2014 for a stint in professional cricket, wriggled out of that corner and won five games in a row to finish off her 24-year-old opponent.

The win carried Barty into the third round here for the first time. She will next face either 14th seed Daria Kasatkina or Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva.

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