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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Simona Halep 'really, really happy' to win at Indian Wells even as Petra Kvitova's run comes to an end

World No 1 Halep came from behind to beat Dolehide 1-6, 7-6, 6-2 in third round, while Kvitova has 14-match winning streak snapped as she loses 6-2, 6-4 to 149th-ranked Amanda Anisimova

Simona Halep spoke about her fighting spirit after winning late on Sunday. Paul Buck / EPA
Simona Halep spoke about her fighting spirit after winning late on Sunday. Paul Buck / EPA

Simona Halep took pride in rallying past 19-year-old Caroline Dolehide at Indian Wells, while Petra Kvitova's remarkable win streak skidded to a halt against another US teen.

World No 1 Halep came from behind to beat Dolehide 1-6, 7-6, 6-2 in the third round of the WTA hard-court tournament, while two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova had her 14-match winning streak snapped as she lost 6-2, 6-4 to 149th-ranked Amanda Anisimova on Sunday.

Halep, 26, is trying to repeat her success in the California desert in 2015 when she lifted the trophy.

"In the end, I think I was stronger in the legs," Halep said. "Also when I had to finish the points, I did. I'm really, really happy about this victory. It was tough down there."

The Romanian improved to 16-1 on the season and said her confidence is what keeps her going in tight matches.

"I didn't give up, which is the most important thing," she said. "I never thought that I would lose the match. I just wanted to stay there and to see what is happening. I'm really proud that I could manage this match.

"It was really tough. And for second match of the tournament was amazing match, amazing level, in my opinion."

Halep hit two aces had no double faults, and broke Dolehide's serve five times in the two-hour, five-minute match.

Halep said she likes use the word "proud" and is trying to maintain a positive attitude.

"I haven't used that word before because I was tougher with myself. So now I'm trying to change that and be kinder with myself," she said. "That's why I just give credit to myself and it gives me confidence for the next days."

Halep booked a round-of-16 clash with China's Wang Qiang, who defeated 14th seed Kristina Mladenovic, of France, 6-1, 6-2.

Despite her top ranked status, Halep is still seeking her first career Grand Slam title. She reached her third grand slam final this year at the Australian Open where she lost to Caroline Wozniacki in three sets.

Halep and Wozniacki have taken turns being No 1 this year. Wozniacki took the world No 1 ranking after winning the Aussie Open but Halep regained it just prior to the Indian wells event.

With her win Sunday over Dolehide, Halep can keep her top ranking unless Wozniacki wins the title.

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Petra Kvitova in action against Amanda Anisimova at Indian Wells. Mike Nelson / EPA
Petra Kvitova in action against Amanda Anisimova at Indian Wells. Mike Nelson / EPA

Elsewhere, Kvitova had been playing some of the best tennis of her career so it was not the kind of third round statement the ninth seed was looking for as she lost in straight sets to the youngest player in the draw.

The 14 straight victories tied her previous career best which she set in 2011/12. The 28-year-old Czech came into Indian Wells having won the last two tournaments she played in.

She missed Indian Wells last year recovering from hand injuries inflicted by a knife-wielding burglar at her home in December 2016.

Kvitova committed four double faults and had her serve broken five times.

Anisimova, 16, who received a wildcard into the draw, is making her Indian Wells debut. She said it was the biggest win of her career.

"It feels crazy," she said. "She is the best player I have ever played and it was the biggest court I have ever played on."

In the fourth round she will face fifth seed Karolina Pliskova, who beat China's Zhang Shuai 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.

Meanwhile, US Open winner Sloane Stephens cruised past wild card Victoria Azarenka in straight sets 6-1, 7-5 in a second-round match that was postponed from Saturday night because of rain.

German 10th seed Angelique Kerber and Ekaterina Makarova of Russia stretched their match over two days because of the showers before Kerber prevailed in three sets, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

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