Halep’s Out at CitiOpen; Open Path for Semifinalists
Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
During the first set of the Citi Open quarterfinal in Washington between Simona Halep and Ekaterina Makarova today, there wasn’t a breeze in sight. The 90 degree sun had few clouds to fend off. The heat reflected off of the metal bleachers on Grandstand 1 court while Jack Sock and Milos Raonic and Jack Sock played in the slightly more forgiving confines of the concrete Stadium next door.
On this day, Simona Halep was up 4-0 in the first set, and then 4-1. When the changeover occurred, she looked nervous, nothing like a top seed with a big lead would in that situation. She later admitted that she felt “dead” on court after she retired in defeat 2-6, 6-3, 1-0.
In the same set, Ekaterina Makarova, who has played in this event for 6 of its 7 years as a WTA concern, had the experience with Washington heat and humidity to get through.
“In the middle of the day, it was very hot, but for me, I tried to stay stronger,” Makarova said. She added that she felt like her “face was burning” in the first set and after she iced it in the second, she had no trouble with the conditions.
“I like to play in the daytime,” she told the small gathering at the post-match press conference. “I played against Puig in the nighttime. You get used to it. You prepare for the match. If you don’t like it, there’s nothing to do. So you cannot change it.”
She’s never played Oceane Dodin, a 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(4) winner over Sabine Lisicki, and faces her tomorrow not before 4:00 p.m.
Romanian fans lost another player in the tournament shortly after Halep’s retirement as Monica Niculescu was no match for Julia Goerges, 6-3, 6-4. She’ll play the resurgent Andrea Petkovic or Bianca Andreescu, who’s had a brilliant run, tomorrow not before 9:00 p.m.