Pliskova stuns Halep in Madrid

World number one Simona Halep was knocked out of the quarter-finals of the Madrid Open, while Maria Sharapova’s run also ended on Thursday.

Karolina Pliskova earned just her second win over Halep in eight attempts when she defeated her 6-4, 6-3 on the clay courts of the Spanish city.

The sixth seed was superb on serve, winning 80% of her first service points, getting broken just once and taking advantage of no less than 26 unforced errors from Halep.

The diminutive Romanian drew first blood in the opening set, but controlled aggression saw Pliskova come back to break Halep twice to take the set. A frustrated Halep continued to struggle to find a way through Pliskova, who was superb defensively as she went on to secure to more breaks to love to win the match.

Elsewhere, former world number one Maria Sharapova was in good shape against Kiki Bertens, but capitulated to lose 6-4, 2-6, 3-6 to the unseeded Dutchwomen.

After a solid opening set, Sharapova fell 3-0 behind in the second set then 4-1 behind in the third as Bertens marched on to her first ever Premier Mandatory semi-final.