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Kontaveit marches on, will play Halep in quarters

This content was published 6 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali d’Italia.

Anett Kontaveit continued her dream debut at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Thursday with a straight sets demolition of No. 16 seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni to reach the quarterfinals.

The 21-year-old qualifier was simply too good for the Croatian, powering past her in 54 minutes for the loss of just two games to set up a last eight clash against Simona Halep.

“I thought I played really great. I managed to do all the right things and stay with her. That was the plan. I thought I did really well,” said Kontaveit.

Kontaveit has been in impressive form all week, overcoming former world No. 9 Andrea Petkovic 63 64 in the first round, knocking out world No. 1 Angelique Kerber 64 60 in the second round and crushing Lucic-Baroni, who is 14 years her senior, 61 61 in the third round.

The world No. 68 is enjoying a breakthrough season which has seen her reach her first WTA final in Biel and record a quarterfinal finish in Stuttgart. She is projected to enter the top 50 for the first time when the rankings are released on Monday 22 May.

The Estonian will face Simona Halep in the last eight on Friday after the Romanian survived a second set blip to overcome Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 61 46 60.

The Madrid champion, who is having another stellar season on clay, secured her eighth straight win with victory over Russia’s Pavlyuchenkova. It looked like it would be plain sailing for Halep as she took the opening set with ease but the No. 12 seed had other ideas and battled her way through the second set to force a decider. Halep upped her level once again, winning the last six games of the match to claim the victory.

“I think in the second set I changed a little bit and I played faster and flatter. She likes this game. So she was putting some power on her shots and was more difficult for me to return. I played short, I think. Of course she played much better than first set,” said Halep.

“But it’s good that I could change in the third set, and I change exactly what I did in the first set and went very well for me opening the court and just take off a little bit the power.”

Halep and Kontaveit’s last eight match will open Centre Court proceedings at 12 noon on Friday.

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