PRAGUE -- Top-seeded Simona Halep had to fight hard to advance to the second round of the Prague Open in beating unseeded Polana Hercog 6-1, 1-6, 7-6 (3) on Tuesday.
It was the first competitive match for Halep since she won the Dubai Championships in February for her 20th career WTA title. Before the Wimbledon champion recovered from a foot injury she sustained in Dubai, the coronavirus pandemic forced a five-month break.
The Romanian dropped her serve six times and double-faulted eight times before prevailing in a tiebreaker on her seventh match point.
"After the second set, I felt tired," Halep said. "But I knew she was in the same position so I just had to stick to the plan and fight. The fighting helped me to win the match."
She will face Czech wild-card entry Barbora Krejcikova next.
However, four of the top-10 seeded players went out.
Fifth-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova was upset by Lesia Tsurenko 6-2, 6-4, No. 6 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova lost to Arantxa Rus 7-5, 6-2, Sara Sorribes Tormo eliminated seventh-seeded Barbora Strycova and Irina-Camelia Begu dispatched ninth-seeded Anastasia Sevastova 6-2, 6-2.
The Prague Open is the second European tournament in the WTA's restart amid the coronavirus pandemic, with strict health protocols in place.