Tennis - Fed Cup: Simona Halep brings Romania's qualification to World Group

Simona Halep, world No. 1 in professional women's tennis, has brought Romania's qualification in the Fed Cup World Group, clinching a decisive victory in the playoff tie against Switzerland, hosted by the Cluj-Napoca Multipurpose Hall.

Halep defeated in two sets, 6-2, 6-1, veteran Patty Schneyer (aged 39, WTA's 149th), who replaced in the Swiss team Timea Bacsinszky, for Sunday's first match of the day.

Romania takes an unassailable 3-0 lead overall and has thus ensured the comeback to Fed Cup World Group I from where it was demoted in April 2016.

The start game, 5-minute long, went to Simona Halep who managed the match's first break, after staging a recovery from 0-40. After another balanced set, Simona advances to 2-0 on her own serve. The Swiss breaks the ice and reduces the score to 2-1, after taking advantage of her service.The WTA leader becomes increasingly more aggressive, tires Schnyder with shots at the corners of the court, without solutions on the defensive side, and the score reaches 4-1, after the Romanian player easily wins her service and manages another break. Schnyder clings to the 6th set, puts all in to recover and succeeds a break after an intense fight which took down the difference to 4-2. Halep swiftly reacts and manages a re-break that brings the score to 5-2. The Romanian player eases past on her service set and wraps up the first set, 6-2, after 41 minutes.

The second set starts with a new break for Simona Halep, who keeps her focus and determination to end the game as soon as possible. The score naturally reaches 3-0 after another break of the Romanian player in the 3rd game. Simona serves and reaches 4-0, then Schnyder wins her first game of set 2 and the scoreboard shows 4-1. Halep stays in control and unemotionally wins on her own service, and at 5-2 the fate of the game and of the set seems decided. With a new break, Simona concludes the game and the set, 6-2, 6-1, after one hour and five minutes.

In the WTA circuit, Simona Halep and Patty Schnyder only played against each other once, in 2010, in Fez (Morocco), in the quarter finals where the Romanian took the lead in two sets, 6-2, 7-6 (3). In Fed Cup, the two players met for the first time in Cluj.

At a 3-0 score, the Fed Cup regulations provide for only the doubles' match to take place, in which Sorana Cirstea and Mihaela Buzarnescu will most likely play on the Romanian side.

In the Fed Cup matches, Romania is currently leading Switzerland by 4-3. AGERPRES (RO - author: Teodor Ciobanu, editor Mihai Dragomir; EN - author/editor: Simona Iacob)

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