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HALEP & BENCIC HIT THE DOUBLES COURT

2015-4-21


STUTTGART, Germany - The Porsche Tennis Grand Prix kicked off on Monday with a pair of main draw matches - one in singles, and a high-profile pair of WTA stars teaming up on the doubles court.

That high-profile pair was Belinda Bencic and Simona Halep, playing doubles together for the very first time as wildcards into the draw. Their opponents, Chan Chin-Wei and Liang Chen, had played together twice before, one of those outings producing a $25,000-level ITF Women's Circuit title run.

Chan and Liang's chemistry looked far stronger for the first half of the match, as they stormed out to a 6-1, 5-1 lead, even holding three match points on Halep's serve in that game. After Halep held onto her serve in that game, Chan and Liang even had four more match points on Liang's serve at 6-1, 5-2.

Bencic and Halep just kept clawing back, winning six games in a row to take that second set, 7-5. They also stormed out to 5-1 in the match tie-break, eventually two points from victory leading 8-5.

Chan and Liang reeled off the last five points in a row to close it out though, 6-1, 5-7, 10-8.

Halep's best career doubles results are a pair of semifinals (Luxembourg in 2011 and Linz in 2012). Bencic's best doubles result is one quarterfinal (at Tokyo [Pan Pacific] last year - with Martina Hingis).

The only main draw singles match saw WTA Rising Star Carina Witthoeft take out fellow German Mona Barthel, 7-5, 6-3. Next up is either No.5 seed Ana Ivanovic or Caroline Garcia, who play on Tuesday.

The qualifying wrapped up, though, with Evgeniya Rodina, Bethanie Mattek-Sands,Kateryna Bondarenko and Petra Martic all securing spots in the main draw. Bondarenko overcame a first set blowout to beat Alexa Glatch, 0-6, 6-4, 6-4, while Martic had it even tougher, fighting off a match point down 6-3, 5-4 to overcome Yuliya Beygelzimer after two hours and 23 minutes, 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.



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