Romanian tennis player Simona Halep, 1st WTA, has qualified on Tuesday, after a tough match, to the second round of Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year, after defeating Kaia Kanepi (Estonia) 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-2.
There was no stunning defeat for Simona Halep at the Australian Open on Tuesday night against one of the game’s most dangerous floaters.
In a rematch of an opening-round upset from the last Grand Slam of 2018, the World No.1 rallied from a set down to defeat Estonian No.2 Kaia Kanepi, 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-2, to book her spot in the second round in Melbourne, wtatennis.com informs.
The former Top 15 Estonian knocked the Romanian out of the US Open in the first round last summer in an Open Era first, but the Romanian dug deep to prevent a repeat inside Margaret Court Arena in her first Grand Slam match of 2019.
Trailing by a set and a break after losing serve in the third game of the second set, Halep responded by breaking back immediately and never lost serve for the rest of the match.
Both players entered the match under somewhat of an injury cloud: Halep was seeking her first win since August in just her second tournament appearance thanks to a back injury, while Kanepi was playing her first match since another run to the second week at Flushing Meadows.
Kanepi hammered 40 winners as she sought the upset bid, and a third career win against a reigning World No.1, but was undone by over 60 unforced errors over two hours and 11 minutes.
She nonetheless stayed in touch in the final set, as neither woman faced a break point over the first five games of the decider, but last year’s runner-up Halep raised her level over the match’s final stages.
The top seed won the final four games to avoid the upset, and advance to a second-round meeting against another dangerous floater: recent Hobart International champion Sonya Kenin.