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Halep beats Cirstea in all-Romanian showdown at Indian Wells


Simona Halep dispatched fellow Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-1 6-4 and Iga Swiatek notched her third straight comeback victory as both players reached the quarter-finals of Indian Wells.

Former world number one Halep, who won the WTA 1000 event in the Southern California desert seven years ago, cruised through the first set with help from her error-prone opponent, Reuters reports.

Cirstea took a 2-0 lead to start the second but the two-time major champion battled back, sealing the win when the world number 27 sent a backhand wide on match point.

A beaming Halep blew a kiss to the television cameras, pumped her fist and waved excitedly to the crowd at Stadium One after winning the Romanian derby. Halep is now 19-0 in matches against her compatriots.

“It is challenging to play against a Romanian player, it’s a little bit stressful,” Halep said in an interview with Tennis Channel.

“But I go on court and just think about myself, I don’t pay attention to who I have to play. I have a plan that I have to do, and today was a pretty solid victory. I felt really good on court.”

Halep will have her hands full in the quarters when she faces Petra Martic after the Czech defeated Ludmilla Samsonova 7-6(6) 6-4.

The world number 79 Martic has been hot in the desert, taking out 19th seeded Tamara Zidansek in the second round before outlasting U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu on Sunday.

Martic said having a short memory has been key to her recent run of success.

“I’m a bit of a perfectionist so that definitely doesn’t help always,” she told reporters.

“I try not to judge myself for the mistakes… I just try to compete and fight until the end.”

Poland’s Swiatek produced her third consecutive come-from-behind victory to battle past former world number one Angelique Kerber 4-6 6-2 6-3 and reach the last eight.

Kerber broke early in the third for a 3-1 lead but the third seeded Swiatek broke back to level at 3-3 and rolled on from there.

The 20-year-old will face Madison Keys on Wednesday after the big-serving American sent British qualifier Harriet Dart packing with a 6-1 6-4 victory.

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