Australian Open: Simona Halep wins tough match against Sofia Kenin to reach third round. Venus Williams next

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Romanian tennis player Simona Halep, 1st WTA, has qualified on Thursday to the third round of Australian Open, following the win against Sofia Kenin (US) 6-3, 67 (3), 6-4.

The match lasted two and a half hours.

After rallying from a set and a break deficit in her first match against Kaia Kanepi, World No.1 Simona Halep kept her Australian Open campaign alive in dramatic fashion once more in the second round, defeating rising American Sofia Kenin.

From 6-3, 3-0 in front, Halep held off a determined effort from the 20-year-old, the youngest player in the Top 50 and recent champion at the Hobart International, and needed to rally form a break down in the decider, wtatennis.com informs,

“I have no idea how I won this tonight. It’s so tough to explain,” Halep said on-court immediately after the match. “She’s an amazing player and it was really difficult to stay there for every ball and run so much. I just fought, because I wanted to win.”

After earning just her second break of serve in the match overall, Kenin moved two games away from the biggest victory of her career to date, and was two points from a 5-2 lead.

Nonetheless, Halep bounced back and wrestled control away from the rising American, raising her level to set a third round clash against Venus Williams.

The World No.1 had the perfect start to the second-round encounter, as she bookended the first set with breaks of serve in the first and last games.

On serve, she lost just six points in four service games and was never taken to deuce, as she hit nine winners to just seven unforced errors and took advantage of 12 miscues from Kenin’s racquet.

A mini-battle in the fourth game in the second set helped Kenin navigate her way back into the match, as she got on the board after four deuces and broke to love to win her first Halep service game of the match.

The 20-year-old stayed in touch from there, holding serve with ease to keep pace all the way through to a tiebreak, before winning four of the last five points of the ensuing tiebreak to push Halep the distance.

In the men’s event, Marius Copil, 60th ATP, was defeated by David Goffin (Belgium, 22nd ATP) 5-7, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4.

 Halep plays down injury fears

Speaking on court after the two-and-a-half encounter, the WTA World No.1 mentioned that she was carrying an injury.

After she was troubled in the second half of 2018 due to a back complaint, culminating in her retiring from Beijing in October, there were concerns it might be a recurrence of that problem but she says that is not the case.

“I feel it in my leg a little bit, it’s the muscle,” she explained. “I felt it in the second set, but it’s because I’m tired. I don’t think it’s anything dangerous, but we’ll see tomorrow morning.”

The 27-year-old admitted that recovering after her three-set victory over Kaia Kanepi in the first round, which also lasted upwards of two hours, had proven difficult.

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