Simona Halep fought off two break points in the eighth game of the third set, and then broke Ekaterina Alexandrova to serve for the match. Photo: Meg Vogel/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP

MASON, Ohio – Simona Halep rallied after dropping the first set to defeat Ekaterina Alexandrova 3-6 7-5 6-4 in the second round of the Western & Southern Open on Wednesday.

The Wimbledon champion fought off two break points in the eighth game of the third set, and then broke Alexandrova to serve for the match.

Elina Svitolina, a Wimbledon semi-finalist, easily reached the third round with a 6-4 6-1 win over Elise Mertens.

On the men’s side, sixth-seeded Kei Nishikori lost to Yoshihito Nishioka 7-6 (2) 6-4.

Nishikori became the seventh seeded man and the 15th out of 32 seeds in the men’s and women’s draws to either lose or withdraw during the first two rounds.

That includes No 2-ranked Rafael Nadal (fatigue) and No 8 Serena Williams (back injury).

AP