Serena Williams won her first match since losing the Wimbledon last, beating Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-3, 6-3 on Wednesday night in the second round of the Rogers Cup.
The 37-year-old Williams has won the occasion multiple times, all in Toronto. She will confront Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova a 6-4, 6-3 champ over Zhang Shuai of China in the third round. Wimbledon champion Simona Halep of Romania beat American qualifier Jennifer Brady 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5).
The victor a year ago in Montreal, Halep lost a 4-0 lead in the third set when Brady won five straight games. Halep broke Brady for the third time in the set to go up 6-5, however Brady crushed spirit to constrain the sudden death round.
“It was an extremely, intense one,” Halep said. “I expected it since I realized that she’s going to serve huge and furthermore the forehand is huge. I didn’t feel 100% prepared for the competition since I had a long break (after Wimbledon). In any case, I’m truly satisfied with the manner in which it was today, the way that I battled till the end.”
The 26-year-old Halep will confront Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia. Kuznetsova beat Donna Vekic of Croatia 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Second-positioned Naomi Osaka of Japan arrived at the third round when German qualifier resigned due to one side stomach damage. Osaka drove 6-2 in her first match since losing in the first round at Wimbledon.
Canada’s Bianca Andreescu beat Russia’s Daria Kasatkina 5-7, 6-2, 7-5. On Tuesday night, the 19-year-old Andreescu beat individual Canadian Eugenie Bouchard.
Third-positioned Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic likewise propelled, beating American qualifier Alison Riske 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-2
No. 16 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia arrived at the third round when Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain resigned with hip damage while trailing 7-5, 3-1. Kontaveit will confront Pliskova on Thursday.
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus was disposed of, losing 7-5, 7-5 to Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine.
Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, the 2017 Rogers Cup champ, moved onto the third round with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 triumph over Katerina Siniakova, and 2015 victor Belinda Bencic of Switzerland edged Julia Goerges 5-7, 6-3, 6-4. Bencic and Svitolina will confront each other Thursday.