'It's Great To Be Back' - Simona Halep Cruises Through Australian Open Opener - UBITENNIS
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‘It’s Great To Be Back’ – Simona Halep Cruises Through Australian Open Opener

The world No.2 has insisted that she is fully health following her latest win at Melbourne Park.

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Second seed Simona Halep produced a clinical display in her opening match at the Australian Open by sweeping aside wild card Lizette Cabrera.

 

The encounter was mainly one-way traffic for the Romanian who raced to a 6-2, 6-1, victory on the Rod Laver Arena against a player who had previously never faced anybody inside the world’s top 10. Halep’s power proved too much for Cabrera as she fired 13 winners and won 70% of her first service points. Making it the 25th main draw match she has won in Melbourne.

Halep, who is yet to win the Australian Open title, encountered her only blip whilst closing out the match. Serving with a 6-2, 5-0, lead a series of loose shots saw the underdog work her way to two break points. Cabrera converted on her second thanks to a forehand error from Halep. Despite the break of serve, the world No.2 secured victory in the following game by converting her first match point at the expense of a mistake coming from across the court.

“It feels great to be back here in Melbourne and playing the Australian Open. I have great memories and it is always a pleasure to come back,” Halep said during her on-court interview.
“Today was a good day. It was really tough to start the tournament after so long and when you play your opponent is always difficult.”

Heading into the Grand Slam there have been some concerns over Halep’s fitness after she admitted to a slight ‘block’ in her back. Last week at the Gippsland Trophy the 29-year-old lost in straight sets to Ekaterina Alexandrova but has now brushed aside any concerns over her fitness.

“I feel good,” she stated. “In Adelaide I played a match against Ash (Barty) and it was really good. Then I came here (to Melbourne) and played a few matches. My body is fit.”

The next test comes in the shape of another Australian called Ajla Tomljanović who beat Misaki Doi in her opening match. Halep leads the world No.69 3-0 in their head-to-head but two of their previous meetings have gone the full distance.

“It is always difficult to play a big hitter because Tomljanović is hitting very strong. So I have to be strong on my legs, focus on myself and to give my best,” Halep previewed.

The latest victory is Halep’s 97th in a Grand Slam main draw.

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Pablo Carreno Busta beats Mikael Ymer in Metz

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Second seed Pablo Carreno Busta beat Mikael Ymer 7-5 6-2 after 1 hour and 52 minutes to reach the quarter finals at the Moselle Open

 

Carreno Busta set up a quarter final match against Danish Next Gen Holger Rune, who battled past Lorenzo Sonego 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-4 after 2 hours and 40 minutes. 

Lucas Pouille rallied from one set down to beat Brayden Schnur 3-6 6-4 6-4 in 1 hour and 59 minutes. 

Peter Gojowczyk battle past lucky loser Antoine Hoang 6-2 3-6 6-4. Gojowczyk also beat Hoang in three sets in the final round of qualifying. 

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John Millman beats Jaume Munar in three sets in Nur Sultan

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John Millman battled past Jame Munar 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 after 3 hours and 9 minutes to advance to the quarter finals in Nur Sultan. 

 

“These long matches are not good in my age, I tell you !. It was such a physical battle out there. It was such a physical battle out there. I thought the level was extremely good. I thought I improved from yesterday in terms of how I was playing: Munari s a tough competitor. His body probably let him down a little bit towards the end. I have got to tell you, my body wasn’t feeling all that great, either. It was such a physical match and just so happy to extend my stay here”, said Millman.

Laslo Djere overcame Lorenzo Musetti 6-4 6-7 (3-7) after 2 hours and 48 minutes. Djere will face either Dusan Lajovic or Soonwoo Kwon. Ilya Ivashka beat wildcard Timofey Skatov 6-2 6-3. Carlos Taberner knocked out Ricardas Berankis 7-5 6-4. 

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Iga Swiatek and Petra Kvitova in Ostrava advance to the quarter finals

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Last year’s Roland Garros Iga Swiatek beat Yulia Putintseva 6-4 6-4 in 1 hour and 47 minutes to reach the quarter finals at the J&T Open in Ostrava. 

 

Swiatek, who was playing the second indoor WTA main draw of her career after Budapest 2019, faced Putuntseva for the first time in her career. Putintseva reached the semifinal in Portoroz last week and overcame Zhang Shuai after 3 hours and 24 minutes. 

Putintseva went down 0-3 in the first set, but she broke back to draw level to 3-3. Swiatek reeled off the last eight points of the first set to win the first set. 

Swiatek missed three break points to break Putintseva at 4-4 in the second set. The Pole saved two break points with her fourth ace and a series of backhand errors. Swiatek broke serve at love in the ninth game with two consecutive backhands to win the second set 6-4. 

“It was very tough. She was running to every ball. It was really hard. It was really hard to finish her, especially with such a slow surface. She could reach everything and she was fighting to the end. Even on match point I had to finish her three times. I am really happy that I won. It’s really hard for me to play against such players. I like to risk and with risking comes unforced errors, so it’s tough to get the balance between when to push and when to stay and wait for the opponent to miss”, said Swiatek. 

Petra Kvitova edged past Anastasia Potapova 6-1 6-7 (4-7) 6-3. Kvitova raced out to a 6-1 4-2 lead, but Potapova won three consecutive games with a break-back to love in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Kvitova had to save two break points in the 10th game. Kvitova rallied from 0-3 to draw level to 3-3 in the tie-break, but Potapova took the breaker 7-4. 

Potapova got an early break in the third game, but Kvitova broke straight back to draw level to 3-3. Kvitova converted her second break point in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. 

Jelena Ostapenko, who finished runne-up to Clara Tauson in Luxembourg last Sunday, cruised past lucky loser Clara Tauson 6-4 6-0 in 66 minutes. 

US Alison Riske rallied from 1-3 down in the third set before beating Fiona Ferro 6-4 1-6 6-4 after 1 hour and 15 minutes. 

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