Top-ranked Halep beats Mertens in Madrid Open 2nd round

MADRID (AP) Top-ranked Simona Halep reached the third round of the Madrid Open on Tuesday by beating Elise Martens 6-0, 6-3.

Halep converted her fifth match point to win her 14th straight match in Madrid and stay on track for a third consecutive title in the Spanish capital.

The 16th-ranked Mertens had been playing great tennis this year but struggled from the start at the Magic Box, ending with 31 unforced errors and five double faults.

The Belgian player was coming off an impressive 13-match winning streak, with titles in Morocco and Switzerland. She also won in Hobart earlier this year and reached the Australian Open semifinals, where she lost to eventual champion Caroline Wozniacki.

Halep will next face Kristyna Pliskova, who defeated Sara Sorribes Tormo 7-5, 6-2.

In another second-round match, Petra Kvitova defeated Monica Puig 6-3, 7-6 (8) for her seventh straight win.

In the first round on the men’s side, Robin Haase ended a four-match losing streak by beating Hyeon Chung 6-2, 6-0.

Denis Shapovalov hit 38 winners to defeat Benoit Paire 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4 in more than two hours in a second-round match, while 11th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut beat Jared Donaldson 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-4 in a first-round encounter.

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