Published: Sat, January 12, 2019
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Ashleigh Barty stuns world number one Simona Halep at Sydney International

Ashleigh Barty stuns world number one Simona Halep at Sydney International

"I finally learned my lesson", said Barty, who had suffered two straight-sets defeats by Halep past year.

In flawless preparation ahead of the Australian Open, World No.15 Barty dominated Halep 6-4 6-4 as the expectations of Australia's top-ranked tennis player continue to grow.

Halep had the first break of serve in the second set and even served to make it 5-3 but Barty rattled off successive breaks to take the set 6-4 and complete a straight-set win over the French Open victor. "I learnt a little bit more in Cincinnati, but today I knuckled down and really thought about it and really gave myself a chance", she said.

Australias Ashleigh Barty stunned World No.1 Simona Halep to advance to the quarterfinals of the Sydney International on Wednesday. "In extremely tricky conditions, [I was] very happy with the way I was able to keep it kind of together".

"I knew that Sim would be a little bit rusty, being her first match of the year, first match in a while".

Her play improved from there. 'The biggest thing, I believed that I could I win.

Having been beaten by Halep in Montreal and Cincinnati in consecutive weeks a year ago, Barty says she trusted her serve and forehand to secure the win. "We're both on the same court and I'm just really happy I came out and executed".

The 27-year-old hasn't won a match in five months after an injury-marred end to 2018 and will also be in Melbourne without a coach after parting ways with Australian mentor Darren Cahill, who can longer commit to Halep due to family reasons.

Barty broke Halep in the first set before the Romanian evened it up.

"I certainly fear no one and I feel like I can go out there and match it with the world's best", Barty said.

The 22-year-old Barty faces either Elise Mertens or the victor of the first round clash between Anett Kontaveit and Monica Puig in the quarter-finals.

Kazakh qualifier Yulia Putintseva came back from a set and a break down to beat fourth seed Sloane Stephens 3-6 7-6 (4) 6-0 in a roller-coaster second round encounter. In the second round, Timea Bacsinszky beat Samantha Stosur 5-7, 6-4, 6-3. "Reilly's an incredibly tough opponent", de Minaur said.

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