US Open: Halep defeats Flipkens in one hour to reach the second round

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No.5 seed Simona Halep got her US Open campaign off to a flying start, dropping just two games in her dominating hour-long romp over Kirsten Flipkens, 6-0, 6-2.

“It was a tough match, because for me the first round of a tournament is always tough,” Halep said. “I started pretty well, I played my game today. I had enough time to do what I wanted.”

“I’d give it less than a 9,” she added, a joking nod to the legendary Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci who watched on from her box, wtatennis.com reports.

Despite the humble self-evaluation, the numbers revealed just how dominant her performance was. Halep won almost double the points that Flipkens did – 60 to 35 – and twice as many winners, 22 to Flipkens’ 11. She also won 80% of the points at the net, and converted six of her 10 break point chances, against Flipkens’ one of three.

Halep had all the answers to Flipkens’ tricky all court game and backhand slice during the 61-minute encounter. She credited the insight from her coach, Darren Cahill, as a key in her game plan.

“When we found out that I play against Flipkens, he had a very good slice and he trained me very well,” she said. “So today it was very easy to play against this slice.”

Flipkens avoided the dreaded double bagel by grabbing a late break at 6-0, 5-0 to get on board in the second set. She took advantage of a couple of nervy points from the Romanian as her opponent’s nerves crept into her game.

“I played pretty well ’til the end, but you know, sometimes even if you have experience you are too nervous to finish the match. I just tried to stay focused,” Halep told ESPN’s Rennae Stubbs after the match.

The Romanian righted the ship in the end and coasted into the second round with ease. She’ll play French Open finalist Lucie Safarova next, after the Czech scored a 6-4, 6-4 win over Daria Gavrilova.

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