Sports

Harried Halep staggers into Open third round

Harried Halep staggers into Open third round

The Romanian had been cruising to victory after leading by a set and a break before finding herself a break down in the third. "I think I served well".

But self-assured Svitolina is bubbling with confidence after dismantling Viktoria Kuzmova 6-4, 6-1, while Pliskova woke up after losing the first set to race past Madison Brengle 4-6, 6-1, 6-0.

"I was able to bounce back and I definitely used their energy", she said.

Halep, who will face Venus Williams in the third round, was also forced to three sets in her opening match against Kaia Kanepi and confessed it was "very difficult" to recover.

The 38-year-old Venus, unseeded at a major for the first time in five years, was the runner-up in Australia to Serena in 2003 and 2017.

"It was a very tough one, she's an incredible player", Halep said in her on-court interview after the match.

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In other early matches, WTA Finals victor Elina Svitolina beat Viktoria Kuzmova 6-4, 6-1 in 67 minutes; No. 13 Anastasija Sevastova beat teenage Canadian qualifier Bianca Andreescu 6-3, 3-6, 6-2; and No. 21 Qiang Wang had a 6-2, 6-3 win over Aleksandra Krunic.

Venus Williams had a struggle in her first round match as she was taken to three sets against 25th seed Mihaela Buzarnescu. I got a little bit injured in the second set but I just fought, because I wanted to win and to come back here. Williams took the final set 6-0.

The world no.1 had to fight hard against Sofia Kenin that is playing much better than her actual rank (37).

Born in Castellon de la Plana in the east of the Iberian Peninsula, Bautista Agut impressed with his football skills for hometown club CD Castellon, who boast past players such as Vicente del Bosque and Gaizka Mendieta. The 27-year-old played in Sydney last week where she lost to Ashleigh Barty in the opening match.

"Hopefully in the next round, I'll play better and make a better match", she added. But I will be confident because I played against her, I know how she plays.


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