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Halep vs Bouzkova tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Halep set for fifth straight Rogers Cup semifinal

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 9 Aug 2019
  • Simona Halep faces Marie Bouzkova in the quarterfinals of the Rogers Cup
  • Halep vs Bouzkova is live from Toronto on Friday at 8.30pm local/1.30am BST
Simona Halep (PA Sports)

Can qualifier Marie Bouzkova stop Simona Halep from extending her nine-match winning streak as they face off in the Rogers Cup quarterfinals?

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Simona Halep is out to make the Rogers Cup semifinals for the fifth straight year as she faces qualifier Marie Bouzkova in Toronto on Friday.

Halep has established a ridiculously good record at the Rogers Cup, winning the title in Montreal in 2016 and 2018, finishing runner-up to Belinda Bencic in 2015 and losing to Elina Svitolina in the semifinals in 2017. 

Simona Halep (PA Sports)
Not only is she on a seven-match winning streak at the Rogers Cup, she’s also quietly won her last nine matches overall. 

It didn’t look at first like it was going to be a smooth transition for Halep back to competition after the break she took after winning Wimbledon (and all the celebrations that followed). Her first match in Toronto was a real uphill struggle against the hard-hitting Jennifer Brady, who was playing fantastic tennis and kept surging back whenever Halep seemed to have found herself on the home stretch; the Romanian’s level rose and fell erratically, and she also needed a visit from the trainer to consult about her Achilles tendon, a perpetual concern.

But things went very much more smoothly for Halep against a tough opponent on Thursday as she recorded a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova. A fellow two-time major champion and an experienced and extremely talented opponent, Kuznetsova has only played a handful of tournaments since returning from a lengthy injury break and is currently ranked world no. 198, but she was clearly playing well enough to beat Donna Vekic in the second round and I thought she performed very well on Thursday; it’s just that Halep was better. After breaking Kuznetsova early in an extremely lengthy game, Halep slammed her foot on the gas and never took it off, producing relentlessly excellent shotmaking as she broke Kuznetsova four times on her way to a 68-minute victory.

‘The fact that I'm back in quarterfinals here means a lot to me. It feels like I'm getting back the rhythm which I had in Wimbledon, let's say,’ Halep said.

‘I was a little bit worried with the holiday that I have that is going to be a little bit tough, but it's normal to take a break sometimes. I'm happy to be in this position. And both [potential opponents] are difficult, so I'm not going to think about that. I just want to go there and to try to play better than today.’

Halep playing better than she did against Kuznetsova is an intimidating prospect – but then everything about playing the world no. 4 in the quarterfinals of a Premier-5 event should be intimidating for a 21-year-old qualifier who has only just broken into the top 100.

Marie Bouzkova (PA Sports)
Marie Bouzkova hasn’t looked intimidated by much so far this week, however. A junior US Open champion in 2014 and one of the latest in the seemingly endless line of great female players coming out of the Czech Republic, Bouzkova turned pro in 2015 but her progression has been incremental rather than meteoric (not necessarily a bad thing). It wasn’t until last September in Quebec City that she got her first main-draw WTA Tour win, despite having qualified for several tournaments; she got her second in the first week of the season, beating Sam Stosur after qualifying for the main draw of the Brisbane International.

Bouzkova had her best result so far when she made the final of the WTA 125k in Guadalajara in March, and she continued to edge upwards with semifinal runs at ITF events in Istanbul and Monzon. She got into the main draws of the French Open and Wimbledon as a lucky loser and won her first Grand Slam main-draw match at the latter, beating Mona Barthel before losing to Maria Sakkari. Then came her long-awaited breakthrough into the top 100 after winning the ITF $80k in Nur Sultan.

Still, no one quite saw her Rogers Cup run coming. Through five matches in Toronto, Bouzkova hasn’t dropped a single set, and if that wasn’t too impressive in the case of two wins in qualifying and beating a local wildcard in the first round, it certainly was when it came to getting her first win over a top-10 opponent in the form of Sloane Stephens, whom Bouzkova beat 6-2, 7-5, and then backing it up with a 6-2, 6-2 win over another Grand Slam champion, Jelena Ostapenko. Those two players may be slumping, but those wins are still of tremendous quality.

Bouzkova looks set to leap all the way up to world no. 66 as a result of this run, which is fortunate for her, because I don’t think she’s going to get past Halep, who is too solid and playing too well. It’s been a great run for Bouzkova, but if Halep plays as well as she did against Kuznetsova, it will be the end of it – and a fifth straight Rogers Cup semifinal appearance for Halep. 

Halep vs Bouzkova tennis is live from Toronto on Friday at 8.30pm local/1.30am BST

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Halep vs Bouzkova tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Halep set for fifth straight Rogers Cup semifinal

Simona Halep vs Marie Bouzkova live streaming, preview and predictions for the Rogers Cup quarterfinal match on Friday 9 August: Qualifier Bouzkova has yet to drop a set in Toronto but Halep is on a nine-match winning streak

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