Simona Halep Battles Service Demons To Stay Alive At Australian Open
Former world number one Simona Halep laboured into the Australian Open second round after an error-strewn clash with Poland's Magdalena Frech which saw 11 service breaks.
- Agence France-Presse
- Updated: January 18, 2022 11:16 AM IST
- imona Halep laboured into the Australian Open second round Tuesday
- She struggled to find her groove against the 102nd-ranked Pole
- Halep is on her way back after a truncated 2021 season
Former world number one Simona Halep laboured into the Australian Open second round Tuesday after an error-strewn clash with Poland's Magdalena Frech which saw 11 service breaks. The fit-again Romanian 14th seed came into the Grand Slam full of confidence after her first title in 16 months at the Melbourne Summer Set tournament this month. But she struggled to find her groove against the 102nd-ranked Pole before banking the win 6-4, 6-3 on Margaret Court Arena to keep her dreams of a third major title alive.
"I found it so difficult today, I was unsure if I could play good tennis," she said.
"But in the end I won and that makes me very happy. Hopefully this week I can play better and better."
Halep, the runner-up in 2018 to Caroline Wozniacki and semi-finalist two years later, is on her way back after a truncated 2021 season when she struggled with calf and knee injuries.
And it was a far from convincing performance, with both players struggling to hold serve in the opening set, with Frech broken three times and Halep twice.
Ultimately, the Romanian was stronger in the rallies and she finally sealed the set on serve with a trademark backhand down the line.
Neither player's serve improved in the second set with Halep immediately breaking before Frech went on a three-game win streak as the error-count mounted.
Halep then reeled off five games in a row to ensure victory and a second round clash with either American qualifier Katie Volynets or Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia.