Halep ‘knocked dizzy’ at Wuhan Open

Source:AFP Published: 2016/9/28 23:33:40

‘Brave’ Konta battles into final eight, moves closer to top 10 ranking


Simona Halep prepares a return against Yaroslava Shvedova during their third-round match at the 2016 WTA Wuhan Open on Wednesday in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province. Photo: CFP

Simona Halep reached the Wuhan Open quarterfinals on Wednesday despite ­being knocked dizzy and forced to retire from a doubles match a day earlier.

The Romanian world No.5 beat ­Yaroslava Shvedova 6-3, 6-3 before ­detailing the heavy blow from a ball which left her with bruising to her head.

Halep was struck by a shot fired from the baseline by her doubles partner ­Jelena Ostapenko, before retiring from the match on Tuesday evening.

"She hit me with the ball, like 150 kilometers per hour. I was dizzy in the first moment, but then was much ­better," Halep said.

"I feel pain all around here, but it's okay," she added, gesturing to the left side of her head.

Halep said she was cleared by doctors to play, and will meet American No.9 Madison Keys in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

The Women's Tennis Association doesn't have the concussion protocols adopted by other sports to ensure ­players have fully recovered from blows to the head.

Concussions in tennis are rare - but they do happen, as when China's Li Na was briefly knocked out in a fall during an Australian Open final in 2013.

Canada's Eugenie Bouchard cut short her season last year with concussion problems after she slipped and fell in the locker room during the US Open.

Former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka bowed out of the 2010 US Open after what was described as a "mild concussion" when she tripped getting off a treadmill.

She lasted about half an hour into her next match before collapsing on court and being taken off in a wheelchair.

Meanwhile, Australian doubles ­player Casey Dellacqua sustained a career-­ending concussion at the China Open in 2015, retiring in May this year.

Also on Wednesday, Briton Johanna Konta stepped closer to joining the world's top 10 after downing Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro in a tight battle to reach the Wuhan Open quarterfinals.

Konta won the epic, nearly hour-long first set and was then forced into a ­tiebreaker by the Spaniard in the second.

Eighth ranked Navarro was on the brink of taking that set when Konta romped through five consecutive points to win the match 7-5, 7-6 (8/6).

The Briton reached the Australian Open semifinal at the start of the year and won her maiden WTA title in July, which saw her rise to 13th in the world. She is now points away from being the first British woman in a generation to join the ranks of the top 10 - and has a chance to qualify for the first time for the eight-player WTA Finals in Singapore.



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