No. 2 seed Simona Halep rallies to advance at Australian Open

By Field Level Media
Oct 4, 2020; Paris, France; Simona Halep (ROU) in action during her match against Iga Swiatek (POL) on day eight at Stade Roland Garros. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Second-seeded Simona Halep rallied from a 5-2 hole in the third set to defeat Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 Wednesday to advance to the third round of the Australian Open.

Canadian and No. 8 seed Bianca Andreescu was upset by Su-wei Hsieh of Taiwan in straight sets at Rod Laver Arena, and Sorana Cirstea of Romania defeated ninth-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova 6-4, 1-6, 6-1.

Halep needed two hours, 34 minutes to dismiss Tomljanovic at Margaret Court Arena. The Romanian didn’t find comfort in her shots until she faced elimination in the deciding set.

“I talked to my team after the match, and they told me that I should have played like I did those games, because my arms were more relaxed and the ball was going a little bit deeper,” Halep said. “I didn’t realize that but, you know, it’s good that I ended like that and I got the confidence that I still can win these tough matches.”

With Halep serving down 5-2 in the third, a double fault put her down 15-30. But three consecutive errors by Tomljanovic made it 5-3. Halep steamrolled the Australian in the next game, losing just one point en route to breaking serve to make it 5-4.

Halep won the next three games to secure the win.

Tomljanovic was undone by nine double faults as she won just 51 of her service points. Halep won 63 of hers.

“It’s hard, very hard to talk about it right now and see any sort of positives,” Tomljanovic said. “At the end of the day all I wanted to do was get a win in any way, even if it was the worst tennis ever. I think that’s my emotions speaking now. I know it was a high-level match, but in the end I lost, so that’s the dominant feeling.”

Andreescu fell 6-3, 6-2 to Hsieh in one hour, 23 minutes. Andreescu committed five double faults and 25 unforced errors. She got just 60 percent of her first serves in and won just 26 percent of her second serves.

No. 3 Naomi Osaka easily defeated Caroline Garcia of France 6-2, 6-3 in one hour, setting up a third-round match against No. 27 Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, who also won in straight sets.

No. 7 Aryna Sabalenka was a straight-set winner over Daria Kasatkina 7-6 (5), 6-3 in one hour, 29 minutes.

Tenth-seeded Serena Williams needed just one hour, nine minutes to defeat Nina Stojanovic of Serbia, 6-3, 6-0. Williams cruised behind six aces and four double faults by Stojanovic.

No. 14 seed Garbine Muguruza of Spain won in straight sets as did 19th-seeded Czech Marketa Vondrousova. No. 15 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland was a straight-set winner over Italian Camila Giorgi 6-2, 6-4.

Injured Venus Williams fell to qualifier Sara Errani of Italy in straight sets. Williams required treatment on her right ankle after stumbling during the match, adding to her left knee injury.

–Field Level Media