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Simona Halep cruises into Prague Open semis

Prague Open Tennis

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - AUGUST 14: Simona Halep of Romania competes in her Women’s Singles Quarter Final match against Magdalena Frech of Poland during the WTA Prague Open tennis tournament at TK Sparta Praha on August 14, 2020 in Prague, Czech Republic. (Photo by Martin Sidorjak/Getty Images)

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PRAGUE -- Top-seeded Simona Halep cruised past lucky loser Magdalena Frech 6-2, 6-0 to advance to the semifinals of the Prague Open on Friday.

Halep, ranked No. 2, converted her first match point with a backhand winner to beat Frech, ranked 174.

“I’m happy that I can play better and better day by day,” Halep said. “It was a good one and I’ll take it.”

Halep needed three sets to knock out her first- and second-round opponents, Polona Hercog and Barbora Krejcikova.

She will play next Irina-Camelia Begu or Sara Sorribes Tormo in the semis. Their quarterfinal was suspended when Begu was leading 6-2, 0-1.

Third-seeded Elise Mertens beat wild card Eugenie Bouchard 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 to set up a semifinal against Kristyna Pliskova.

Pliskova advanced after Ana Bogdan retired due to a left foot injury while leading 5-2 in the opening set of their second-round match.

The Prague Open is the second European tournament since the WTA restarted amid the coronavirus pandemic, with strict health protocols in place.