Cincinnati - Romanian second seed Simona Halep stayed on
track for a tilt at the world No 1 spot with a 6-4 6-3 third-round win over
Anastasija Sevastova at the Cincinnati Open on Thursday.
Former No 1 Caroline Wozniacki and ex-No 2 Svetlana
Kuznetsova also reached the last eight.
Sixth seed Wozniacki of Denmark stopped the impressive run
of 21-year-old Australian qualifier Ashleigh Barty 6-4 6-2 to reach the
tournament's quarterfinals for the fourth time.
Eighth-seeded Kuznetsova of Russia joined them in the last
eight by beating Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2 6-4.
Halep reached the last eight in Cincinnati for the fifth
straight year, contesting the final in 2015 and the semi-finals last year in
the hard court run-up to the US Open.
She can leapfrog Karolina Pliskova as world No 1 by winning
the title claimed last year by the Czech, who was taking on Italian Carla
Giorgi later on Thursday.
Halep trailed 4-2 in the opening set against Latvia's
15th-seeded Sevastova, who was aiming to take a set off the Romanian for the
first time in their last four meetings.
But Halep reeled off the last four games to take the set,
helped by Sevastova's unforced errors on crucial points, and won the first
three games of the second set on her way to victory.
"The match felt quite tough, it was not easy at
all," Halep said. "I won against the 15th player in the world playing
not as I want. It's a big thing, and I'm really happy about it."