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KEY DATES FOR WIMBLEDON 2017

Qualifying begins: 26 June

The Draw: 30 June

Pre-event Press Conferences: 1 & 2 July

Order of Play: 2 July

Championships begin: 3 July

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News
Saturday, 2 July 2016 14:47 PM BST
Brilliant Halep sees off Bertens
Romanian No.5 seed produces some exquisite shot placement under Centre Court roof READ MORE

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No one has won more matches this season than Kiki Bertens, but none of that mattered against a brilliant Simona Halep.

Absorbing the pure, physical power of the No.26 seed from the Netherlands with at times exquisite footwork and shot placement, the Romanian moved into the fourth round with a 6-4, 6-3 win under the roof on Centre Court.

“I am not a very big server, so I have to exercise a lot of returns,” Halep said. “I was able to return very well today.”

Indeed she did. The Romanian No.5 seed won 38 per cent of return points off a first serve and 65 per cent off a second. She broke four times, while losing her own serve twice.

With French Open champion Garbiñe Muguruza already out of the Championships, Halep is now the second highest seed left on her side of the draw, after Australian Open winner and No.4 seed Angelique Kerber of Germany. Halep, a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2014, faces either big-serving American Madison Keys or France’s Alize Cornet in the last 16.

“I’m really excited,” said Halep. “I’m playing good tennis, and I’m happy I could win in two sets.”

Playing in front of a Royal Box full of sporting legends, including Billie Jean King, Margaret Court and David Beckham, both women started nervously as they traded breaks at the start of the match.

Halep settled after that and looked in command as she broke for 4-2, only for the Dutchwoman to take the next two games with aggressive baseline play. But Halep soon restored order, clenching both fists and looking at her coach, Darren Cahill, as she took the first set 6-4 with a perfectly timed cross-court forehand return.

Even though she lost the match, Bertens will move up on the rankings after her best Wimbledon in four appearances. This time a year ago, Bertens had just overcome a cancer scare that affected her so badly she lost 6-0, 6-0 to two-time champion Petra Kvitova in 35 minutes in the first round.

Having been ranked outside the top 100 at the start of the year, Bertens is now a Tour-leading 42-12 this season, partly thanks to a strong clay court season. She won both the singles and doubles titles in Nuremberg, Germany, in May before Serena Williams ended her run on the clay of Roland Garros in the semi-final.

Having sustained a tear in her calf at Roland Garros, Bertens wasn’t able to play any official matches on grass in the run-up to Wimbledon. Against Halep, she struggled at times with her movement as she handed her opponent an early break in the second set.

With Halep serving at 5-3, Bertens squandered a break point with a forehand into the net. Another forehand error handed Halep the match on her first match point.

Although the Romanian said the Achilles heel injury that kept her out of Birmingham is still bothering her, she wasn’t in pain against Bertens. “I am OK, I am fit now but some days I have some pain,” she said. “But now I was 100 per cent."

 

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