World Number One Halep Dumped In Sydney

Ashleigh Barty Sydney Sydney International

She [Halep] gave me a belting in Montreal. "I believed I could win". We're both out here on the same court. "Just very happy I was able to come out and executive". However, the Aussie's relentless play made for compelling viewing and resulted in another break of serve for her as she went on to pocket the first set.

"So I was very happy I was able to make the most of it".

Halep said it was challenging to play without her long-term Australian coach Darren Cahill, who is taking 12 months off the sport to focus on his family, but did not experience any back pain after taking a longer than usual recovery over Christmas. "I had so many chances to break her and to take advantage, but I couldn't".

With a cool change coming through Sydney's west, wind gusting through Ken Rosewall Arena pushed some shots over a metre from their natural flight path.

"It was extremely hard conditions, very swirly down at court level. Learned a little bit more in Cincinnati", she said.

"I think it's (beating the world No.1) all blown out a little bit".

Kiki Bertenes, seeded seventh, awaits Putintseva after she received a walkover win due to former world number one Garbine Muguruza suffering a gastrointestinal illness.

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It was Putintseva's sixth career top 10 victory, and second consecutive win over Stephens following an equally dramatic three-set triumph in Nuremberg previous year. "It feels like a big, big, big difference". I had no inspiration in some important points.

"I felt like it was really clean considering the conditions".

Barty, who ended a breakthrough 2018 with a WTA title in Zhuhai and is now ranked 15, brought the momentum into the new year and is now in the quarter-finals, where she will meet either Belgian 10th seed Elise Mertens or Estonian Anett Kontaveit. In the second round, Timea Bacsinszky defeated Samantha Stosur 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.

The sixth seed beat compatriot Pauline Parmentier 6-3 6-0 to set up a meeting with Belgian qualifier Greet Minnen, a 6-1 4-6 7-6 (3) victor against Magda Linette. For me, it's another tennis player across the court.

"Obviously it's disappointing, but the sun will come up tomorrow".

Nick is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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