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World No 1 Halep beats Kenin in epic battleto reach Australian Open round three

World No 1 Simona Halep comes through epic battle with Sofia Kenin to reach Australian Open round three

  • Simona Halep looked on course for victory when she went a set and break up 
  • World No 1 won the first set 6-3 and raced into 3-0 lead only to be pegged back
  • Sofia Kenin fought back to win the second set on a tiebreak and lead in set three
  • But Halep came from a break down to secure the deciding set 6-4 on Thursday 

Top seed Simona Halep staved off a spirited challenge from American youngster Sofia Kenin to prevail 6-3 6-7 (5) 6-4 in the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday and set up a showdown with former world No 1 Venus Williams next.

The Romanian has struggled for form and fitness since her first-round defeat at the US Open last August.

The world No 1 came into the year’s first Grand Slam short of preparation after a back injury ended her 2018 season prematurely. 

World No 1 Simona Halep came from a break down in the deciding set to beat Sofia Kenin

Romania's Halep stretches to make a forehand during the second-round tie on Thursday

Romania’s Halep stretches to make a forehand during the second-round tie on Thursday

American Kenin, only 20, battled hard in Melbourne and forced the match into a deciding set

American Kenin, only 20, battled hard in Melbourne and forced the match into a deciding set

She broke the 20-year-old Kenin twice in the first set but the American fought back in the second set from 3-0 down to level it at 1-1 in the tiebreaker.

Halep then got the crucial break in the third set to go up 5-4 and converted her second match point for the victory in two hours and 31 minutes.

Halep, who was on a five-match losing streak before the Australian Open, set up a third-round meeting against multiple Grand Slam winner Williams, who beat Frenchwoman Alize Cornet 6-3 4-6 6-0. 

‘Well, I have no idea how I won this tonight,’ said Halep, the reigning French Open champion. ‘It’s so tough to explain what happened on court.’

‘Hopefully,’ said Halep. ‘Next round I play better.’

Halep, here clenching her first, looked set for a straight-sets win only to be pegged back

Halep, here clenching her first, looked set for a straight-sets win only to be pegged back

Kenin fought back from 3-0 down in the second set to level the match and force a decider

Kenin fought back from 3-0 down in the second set to level the match and force a decider

Halep shows her frustration as her hopes of glory looked to be slipping away on Thursday

Halep shows her frustration as her hopes of glory looked to be slipping away on Thursday

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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