Kerber falters but marches on


It was a mixed day for the big names at the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Thursday as Wimbledon runner-up Angelique Kerber and fifth seed Simona Halep progressed, while Venus Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska bowed out in the third round.

Kerber had to overcome a slow start, but she eventually got the job done against Elina Svitolina in a 1-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 triumph, while Halep had no such issues in her straight-sets win over 14th seed Karolina Pliskova.

Johanna Konta also progressed, while Svetlana Kuznetsova overcame fellow seed Petra Kvitova, but the third round proved the end of the road for Williams, who lost to compatriot Madison Keys, and Radwanska, who bowed out against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, while Roberta Vinci was also knocked out.


It was far from easy for the second seed, but Kerber got it done after a marathon effort against 17th seed Svitolina.

Kerber copped a 6-1 hiding in the first set, and was in a precarious position as the second set went to a tie-break, but she managed to recover.

The German will hope the physical toll of the match - which lasted two hours and 15 minutes - will not cost her later in the tournament.

There were no such issues for Halep, who beat Pliskova 6-3 6-3 in just over one hour of play as she pounced on her opponent's second serve.

Pliskova only put in 53 per cent of her first serves, and Halep punished her accordingly, winning 68 per cent of points returning the second.

Johanna Konta knocked out Varvara Lepchenko after her 6-3 6-2 triumph, while Kuznetsova was a 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 winner over 12th seed Kvitova.


Williams recovered well initially against Keys, but she still went down to her fellow American 6-1 6-7 (2-7) 6-3.

Radwanska was also beaten, suffering a 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 loss to 16th seed Pavlyuchenkova.

Vinci was the other big name to fall, as the seventh seed lost to the unseeded Daria Kasatkina 7-5 6-3.

Eugenie Bouchard also bowed out in the third round, as Kristina Kucova proved too good in their match that lasted over two hours, winning 3-6 6-4 6-3.


It took Keys just 20 minutes to take the first set against Williams in their third-round clash as she answered everything her more-fancied opponent could muster with consummate ease.

Williams served at 67 per cent, but won just 33 per cent of points on her first serve, while she failed to save the two break points she faced.

Williams fought back valiantly, but she faded in the third set as the fresher Keys took the win and moved into the quarter-finals.


The fifth seed made light work of Pliskova on Thursday and the Romanian star says she is feeling the confidence flowing.

"I'm happy that I won today. It's nice to be in the quarter-finals again, a second year in a row," Halep said during her on-court interview.

"I enjoy my time here and I'm looking forward to the next round already."

"She's a good player, I knew that well - I've played her a couple of times already this year, so I knew she was going to be very strong," Halep added. 

"But I played some good tennis, a high level, and I moved very well."


And now, Halep will take on ninth seed Kuznetsova in the quarter-finals.

The two have played six times before, the last of those coming in Sydney this year, and share the record at three wins each.

Kerber has what looks - on paper at least - a much more straightforward encounter with Kasatkina, while Konta will take on Kucova.