Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Simona Halep: Halep and Stephens bundled out in Sydney

Ashleigh Barty Sydney Sydney International Ash Barty upsets world No.1 to lay down marker for Australian Open
Cassandra Castillo | 12 January, 2019, 15:24

"I finally learned my lesson".

In ideal preparation ahead of the Australian Open, World No.15 Barty dominated Halep 6-4 6-4 as the expectations of Australia's top-ranked tennis player continue to grow.

The Australian number one beat the reigning Roland Garros champion Halep 6-4, 6-4, as her aggressive approach was rewarded, reports Efe news. I learnt a little bit more in Cincinnati, but today I knuckled down and really thought about it and really gave myself a chance.

Qualifier Yulia Putintseva ambushed No.4 seed Sloane Stephens at the Sydney International, coming from a set and a break down to seize their second-round scrap 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-0 in a two-hour, three-minute whirlwind of creative shotmaking.

Her play improved from there. "I believed I could 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".

And while Barty is 33/1 with Unibet to win the Australian Open, those odds are bound to shorten if she goes on to win the title in Sydney.

"Just very happy I was able to come out and execute".

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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.

"That game at 4-all, I think in the second set, I was happy to just hit my slice over and over and try and wear her down a little bit", Barty said.

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

Barty will play either Anett Kontaveitt or Elise Mertens in the quarter-finals.

Having defeated Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3, 6-4 in her opening round match, the world number 16 withdrew before her match against the Dutchwoman Bertens.

The sixth seed beat compatriot Pauline Parmentier 6-3 6-0 to set up a meeting with Belgian qualifier Greet Minnen, a 6-1 4-6 7-6 (3) victor against Magda Linette.

Meanwhile, Alex de Minaur has cut down the equal-tallest man in professional tennis to move into the Sydney International quarter-finals for a second straight year.

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