Tennis: Wozniacki ends Halep’s hopes of number one spot

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki returns to Romania's Simona Halep.
Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki returns to Romania's Simona Halep.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) – Caroline Wozniacki ended Simona Halep’s immediate hopes of taking over the world number one ranking by beating the Romanian 5-7 6-4 6-1 to reach the semi-finals of the Aegon International tournament at Eastbourne on Thursday (June 29).

Halep could have ousted Angelique Kerber from the number one slot had she reached the final and the German lost to Britain’s Johanna Konta in the quarter-finals.

Instead, the sixth-seeded Dane fought back from a set down to reach the last four.

“She came out with some amazing shots and I lost the first set, and she had the momentum in the second. But I kept grinding and kept digging in there and somehow managed to turn it around,” said Wozniacki.

Konta, Britain’s big hope in the women’s draw at Wimbledon starting next week, was playing Kerber in her second match of the day after beating French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 7-5 3-6 6-4.

Two days of rain delays at the south coast grass court event have left a backlog of matches with Konta, who grew up in Eastbourne, one of several facing a punishing schedule.

“I’m not the only one in this position today, so I’m sure everyone’s playing mainly on adrenaline,” the Australian-born fifth seed said after her match against Ostapenko.

Konta, set to become the first British woman ranked in the world’s top 10 at Wimbledon since 1984, had to rally from a break down in the deciding set to end the Latvian’s eight-match winning streak.

She then won the final four games and saved a break point in the tense final one, in which Ostapenko also saved two match points, before clinching victory in two hours and 18 minutes.

“I think the scoreline and the match itself shows that it was an incredibly tough battle and there was very little in it,” said Konta.

“Against a player like her who has such a big game, sometimes it’s difficult to accept that you haven’t got much say in some points.”

Lauren Davis, of the United States, overcame eighth seed Agnieszka Radwanska 7-6 6-1 in a rain-delayed match before then losing in the third round to Barbora Strycova, of the Czech Republic, 7-5 6-2.

British number three Heather Watson gave the home fans another quarter-finalist by beating Russian 14th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4 6-3.