Halep quickly finds her groove

Simona Halep hitting a shot against Svetlana Kuznetsova in their Rogers Cup third-round clash in Toronto on Thursday. Halep won 6-2, 6-1 to set up a quarter-final clash with Czech Marie Bouzkova today. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Simona Halep hitting a shot against Svetlana Kuznetsova in their Rogers Cup third-round clash in Toronto on Thursday. Halep won 6-2, 6-1 to set up a quarter-final clash with Czech Marie Bouzkova today. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

TORONTO • With all the attention on Cori Gauff, Serena Williams and Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep went under the radar at Wimbledon last month, but that suited her just fine as she clinched her second Grand Slam.

Again at the ongoing Rogers Cup, despite having made the last four in the past four years and twice winning the title, much of the focus has not been on the defending champion and former world No. 1 but rather on homegrown talent Bianca Andreescu, 19, who reached the last eight.

However, Halep, who is playing in her first event since her triumph in London, is looking sharp on one of her favourite hunting grounds ahead of the US Open later this month and feels that "she is getting back the rhythm which I had in Wimbledon".

After sweeping past Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-1 to set up a quarter-final clash with Czech Marie Bouzkova today, the 27-year-old Romanian said: "The only one challenge that I have is to win the next match. Doesn't matter against who I play.

"The fact that I'm back in quarterfinals here means a lot to me. I was a little bit worried with the holiday that I have that it is going to be a little bit tough, but it's normal to take a break sometimes. I'm happy to be in this position."

Separately, tennis' "big three" of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic can usually count on seeing one another at the business end of Grand Slams, with 45 matches among them at Majors.

But now, they will do business together as well after the ATP Tour announced on Thursday that Federer and Nadal, along with Jurgen Melzer, were elected to the player council, the 10-member body for which the top-ranked Djokovic serves as president.

Their elections, however, feel less like a triumphant return and more like a rescue mission.

The council haemorrhaged members during Wimbledon, when three players - Robin Haase, Jamie Murray and Sergiy Stakhovsky - abruptly quit.

The exodus followed a contentious seven-hour meeting that capped months of deadlock over choosing a replacement for Justin Gimelstob, a player representative to the ATP board. He resigned in May after pleading no contest to a felony battery charge.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2019, with the headline 'Halep quickly finds her groove'. Print Edition | Subscribe