Top-seeded Halep beats Konjuh in St. Petersburg

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St. Petersburg, Russia (AP) — Top-seeded Simona Halep won her first match since an opening-round exit at the Australian Open, beating Ana Konjuh 6-4, 7-6 (2) Wednesday at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy.

The fourth-ranked Romanian, who was broken three times, will next face Natalia Vikhlyantseva in the quarterfinals. The Russian wild-card entry defeated eighth-seeded Daria Kasatkina 7-6 (4), 6-2.

Simona Halep of Romania returns the ball to Ana Konjuh of Croatia during their match at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy-2017 tennis tournament in St. Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 1. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
Simona Halep of Romania returns the ball to Ana Konjuh of Croatia during their match at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy-2017 tennis tournament in St. Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 1. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Playing in her home city for the first time, third-seeded veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova swept aside Moscow-born Australian Daria Gavrilova, winning 6-1, 6-3.

That sets up a quarterfinal against Yulia Putintseva, who earlier beat Annika Beck 6-4, 6-0.

Also, fifth-seeded Elena Vesnina of Russia beat Olympic doubles partner Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-1. Vesnina and Makarova won the women’s doubles gold medal in Rio de Janeiro.

Vesnina will face Alize Cornet in the second round.