World No 1 Simona Halep beaten in straight sets by Ashleigh Barty on her return from lengthy injury lay-off
- Ashleigh Barty beat Simona Halep 6-4, 6-4 in Sydney International second round
- It was Halep’s first match since October after a long lay-off due to a back injury
- Halep will be at the Australian Open next week in Melbourne without a coach
- She split with Darren Cahill, who can’t commit to Halep due to family reasons
Ashleigh Barty broke Simona Halep’s serve in the final game of the match to beat the No 1-ranked Halep 6-4, 6-4 in a second-round match Wednesday at the Sydney International.
It was Halep’s first match since October after a lengthy lay-off due to a herniated disc in her back. Halep won last year’s French Open and lost to Caroline Wozniacki in the Australian Open final.
The Australian served five aces, no double-faults and broke Halep three times to reverse two previous losses to Halep last August.
World No 1 Simona Halep was beaten in straight sets on her return from a lengthy injury lay-off
Ashleigh Barty (L) beat Halep 6-4, 6-4 in a second-round match at the Sydney International
‘I finally learned my lesson,’ Barty said. ‘She gave me a belting in Montreal. I learned a little bit more in Cincinnati, but today I knuckled down and really thought about it and really gave myself a chance.
‘The biggest thing, I believed that I could I win. We’re both out here on the same court. Just very happy I was able to come out and execute.’
The 27-year-old Halep will be at the Australian Open next week in Melbourne without a coach after parting ways with Australian mentor Darren Cahill, who can longer commit to Halep due to family reasons. Cahill had coached Halep for four years.
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In a first-round match, 10th-seeded Elise Mertens beat qualifier Katerina Siniakova 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-2. In the second round, Timea Bacsinszky defeated Samantha Stosur 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.
The 27-year-old Halep will be at the Australian Open next week in Melbourne without a coach
‘I knuckled down and really thought about it and really gave myself a chance,’ Barty said
In men’s play, Alex de Minaur beat American qualifier Reilly Opelka 6-4 7-6 (4) in a match suspended by rain after just one game on Tuesday night to advance to the quarterfinals against fellow Australian Jordan Thompson.
‘I think I got lucky today. Reilly’s an incredibly tough opponent,’ de Minaur said. ‘I took care of my chances. I would have loved to get the break in the second. I had a couple of chances, but I did well to focus on my serve and I’m glad things went my way today.’
In other second-round matches, third-seeded Diego Schwartzman beat qualifier Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-3 and Yoshihito Nishioka defeated Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-1.