Simona Halep stunned by Ashleigh Barty in Sydney second round

Annette Crawford
January 12, 2019

"I learned my lesson - she gave me a belting in Montreal and I learned a little bit more in Cincinnati", she said.

Halep, playing in her first tournament since a back injury cut short her 2018 season, lost 6-4 6-4 in 87 minutes with the result dealing a blow to her Australian Open preparations.

World number one Simona Halep's first match in more than three months ended in defeat by Australia's Ashleigh Barty at the Sydney International. But also I was very close to win. 'The biggest thing, I believed that I could I win.

"It was very swirly down at court level so I figure if I'm going to play Sim at any time, it's her first match and in conditions like this".

"I had nothing to lose out here so I just came out and played with freedom". We're both out here on the same court.

Halep said it was challenging to play without her long-term Australian coach Darren Cahill, who is taking 12 months off the sport to focus on his family, but did not experience any back pain after taking a longer than usual recovery over Christmas.

The 22-year-old struggled after missing the first but she did enough to prevail as the victor, fending off nine out of 11 break points she faced to seal the deal and celebrate a huge triumph after believing in herself all the time, even when she was a break down in set number two. She went on to win that title.

"I felt like it was really clean considering the conditions".

Halep had to win the 10th game to extend the match but she wasted a game point before she sprayed a backhand error to suffer a break and send the youngster into the last eight where she will face Anett Kontaveit or Elise Mertens.

Earlier on Wednesday, Samantha Stosur was knocked out in a two-sets-to-one loss to Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky. "Reilly's an incredibly tough opponent", de Minaur said.

In other second-round matches, top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Guido Andreozzi 6-3, 6-4, third-seeded Diego Schwartzman beat qualifier Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-3, Yoshihito Nishioka defeated Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-1 and No. 8 Andreas Seppi beat Martin Klizan 7-6 (2), 6-2.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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