Top-seeded Simona Halep overcame a back injury to defeat Varvara Gracheva of Russia 6-4, 6-2 Thursday and reach the quarter-finals of the Transylvania Open.
Second-seeded Anett Kontaveit and U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu also had straight-set wins to advance to the last eight of the Romanian indoor event.
Halep, who missed Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics owing to a calf injury, was visibly hampered in her movement but capitalized on her strong serve and a number of unforced errors by Gracheva.
“The back got blocked and the pain is really big. You cannot really bend much and you cannot move,” Halep said. “I had this before many times and I just wanted to continue and finish the match.”
Halep next plays fellow Romanian Jacqueline Cristian.
US qualifier Tiafoe upsets Tsitsipas to reach Vienna quarter
VIENNA American qualifier Frances Tiafoe rallied to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 at the Erste Bank Open Thursday for his second win in four months over the top-seeded Greek.
Tiafoe upset Tsitsipas in straight sets in the opening round at Wimbledon in June, but failed to win a set when the pair met again at the Tokyo Olympics the following month.
Thursday’s win was Tiafoe’s first in seven matches against a top-three player, as Tsitsipas reached his career-high No. 3 ranking in August.
The result denied Tsitsipas a tour-leading 15th quarter-final of the season.
In his fourth quarter-final of the year, Tiafoe will take on Diego Schwartzman, who outlasted Gaël Monfils 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-2.
Second-seeded Alexander Zverev defeated Alex de Minaur 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 for the German’s 300th career win.
Zverev next plays Montreal’s Félix Auger-Aliassime. The sixth-seeded Canadian saved three match points before beating Britain’s Cameron Norrie 2-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4 in match between two contenders for the remaining tickets to the ATP Finals in Turin next month.
Jannik Sinner stretched his indoor winning streak to 10 matches and 20 sets by defeating Dennis Novak of Austria 6-4, 6-2. The seventh-ranked Italian will move into eighth position in the race for the finals if he beats Casper Ruud in Friday’s quarter-final.
The fourth-seeded Norwegian edged last year’s finalist Lorenzo Sonego 7-6, 4-6, 6-4.
Fritz beats pal Tommy Paul on birthday in St. Petersburg
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia Taylor Fritz celebrated his 24th birthday by beating doubles partner Tommy Paul 7-6 (3), 6-4 to advance to the quarter-finals of the St. Petersburg Open on Thursday. Fritz will next face Australian John Millman, who advanced by upsetting fourth-seeded Aslan Karatsev 6-3, 6-2. Karatsev won the Kremlin Cup on Sunday but the Russian lost his cool at 2-2 in the second set. He handed the 57th-ranked Millman a break when he was penalized a point for slamming his racquet on the court after sailing a backhand wide at deuce. In another upset, Dutch qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp set up a quarter-final against home favourite and defending champion Andrey Rublev after beating eighth-seeded Sebastian Korda of the United States 6-2, 7-5. Croatia’s Marin Cilic and Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut will also meet in the quarter-finals Friday. Cilic beat sixth-seeded Karen Khachanov of Russia 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-4 while the third-seeded Bautista Agut ousted American Mackenzie McDonald, 6-3, 6-2.