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Missing in Guadalajara, Halep advances to Linz semis

Having dropped out of the top 20 for the first time since 2013, Halep is hoping to end her injury-marred season with a title in Linz this week

Romania's Simona Halep celebrates after winning her round of 16 match in Linz Romania’s Simona Halep celebrates after winning her round of 16 match in Linz Image Credit: AI / Reuters / Panoramic

For many tennis fans, it may be odd to see Simona Halep competing at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz Open, a WTA 250 event, this week instead of the season-ending WTA Finals in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The Romanian has played the WTA Finals every year since she made her debut in the marquee women’s event in 2014, barring 2018 when she was forced to end her season early due to injury.

30-year-old Halep has been one of the most consistent performers on the WTA Tour but her 2021 season has been marred by injuries.

On Wednesday, she advanced to the semi-finals in Linz, coming from a set and a break down to beat Italian Jasmine Paolini 4-6, 7-5, 6-0 in two hours and 13 minutes.

Halep is through to her third WTA semi-final of the season and will be hoping to end her season with her first title of the year. If she does accomplish that, it will maintain her streak of winning at least one WTA title in a season for the ninth year in a row.

Halep next meets countrywoman Jaqueline Cristian. The 23-year-old Cristian, who came into the main draw as a lucky loser, scored a 6-3, 7-6(5) win over fourth seed Veronika Kudermetova.

In the other semi-final, Americans Danielle Collins and Alison Riske will square off for a place in Friday’s final. Third seeded Collins beat Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck 7-5, 6-3 while eighth seeded Riske defeated qualifier Wang Xinyu, winner over US Open champion Emma Raducanu earlier in the week, 6-3, 7-5.

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