LONDON (Reuters) - Second seed Simona Halep brought the Wimbledon women’s draw to order on Friday after recent upsets with a 6-4 7-6(7) win over China’s Peng Shuai.
The 25-year-old Romanian, who could capture the No.1 spot if she reaches the semi-finals at Wimbledon, wore down her 31-year-old opponent with heavy groundstrokes from the baseline, clipping the lines with her penetrating forehands.
Looking to assuage the disappointment of losing the French Open final last month to Jelena Ostapenko from a set and 3-0 up, Halep did not have an easy ride on a sweltering Court Two.
Peng, ranked 37 and no slouch on grass after winning the doubles title here in 2013, broke back to force the tiebreak when Halep looked to be cruising home in the second set. The pair slugged it out until Halep served an ace for a second match point and Peng sent a ball long to concede the match.
Third seed Karolina Pliskova and 12th seed Kristina Mladenovic lost on Thursday, opening up the women’s competition, that was already missing seven times champion Serena Williams.
Halep meets former world number one Victoria Azarenka in the last 16.
Reporting by Clare Lovell; Editing by Gareth Jones