Thiem, Halep ease through in Washington

 03 Aug 2017 - 0:04


Washington:  Top seeds Dominic Thiem and Simona Halep cruised into the round of 16 at the ATP and WTA Citi Open with straight-set triumphs on Tuesday at the US Open tune-up event.
Austria’s seventh-ranked Thiem, a French Open semi-finalist in June, waited out a rain delay then needed only 63 minutes to dispatch 96th-ranked Swiss Henri Laaksonen 6-3, 6-3.
World number two Halep, this year’s French Open runner-up, took only 79 minutes to oust US wildcard Sloane Stephens 7-6 (7/3), 6-0.
Thiem, who dropped only eight points on his serve and just one on 25 successful first serves, broke in the second game of the match and again in his rival’s last two service games, taking the match when Laaksonen netted a backhand.
This marks the biggest event where Thiem has been top seeded, but his four nearest rankings rivals are also in the field - Germany’s Alexander Zverev, Japan’s Kei Nishikori, Canada’s Milos Raonic and Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.
But Thiem faces a possible third-round match Thursday against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, who has beaten him in all five of their career meetings, all on hardcourt and with Thiem taking only one set.
Second-seeded Nishikori turned back the determined challenge of American Donald Young 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7/5).
Nishikori, seeking his first title of 2017, didn’t face a break point in the third set, but he couldn’t convert any of his eight break chances as Young forced the tiebreaker.
Nishikori finally sealed the win on his sixth match point after two hours and 25 minutes and with the clock ticking toward 2 am.
Halep will next face Colombia’s 115th-ranked Mariana Duque-Marino for a quarter-final berth as the 25-year-old Romanian keeps her focus on building her game for the US Open that starts on August 28 in New York.