Australian Open

Halep sweeps past Bouchard

2018-01-18 11:37
Simona Halep (Getty)

Melbourne - Aggressive world number one Simona Halep kept her quest for a maiden Grand Slam title on course by cruising into the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday.

The Romanian top seed needed just an hour and five minutes to sweep to an easy 6-2, 6-2 victory over struggling Eugenie Bouchard on Margaret Court Arena.

"I thought that I played well tonight," said Halep, who dominated the encounter.

"I just wanted to make my game, to open the court, to stay closer to the baseline, to play a little bit more aggressive, which I did. 

"Also to try to finish the points down the line, which I did pretty well with the backhand today."

Four years ago this match-up was the Wimbledon semi-final, which the then up-and-coming teenager Bouchard won 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 after Halep was compromised by an ankle injury.

Halep has since risen to number one while Bouchard, once touted as the game's new golden girl, has tumbled outside the top 100.

There was no chance of a Wimbledon repeat as the 23-year-old's form woes were cruelly exposed by Halep who broke the Canadian's serve at will.

So poor was Bouchard's delivery that she couldn't hold on to her serve a single time during a first set which Halep ripped through 6-2 in 33 minutes

She finally held serve in the third game of the second set to sympathetic cheers from the Margaret Court Arena crowd. 

But it was to be the only time in the match as Halep, scampering around the baseline, showed few ill-effects from rolling her ankle worryingly in her first-round win over Destanee Aiava.

"I felt the pain but I didn't think about it," said Halep of her fragile ankle which she said had needed some outside support.

"I couldn't practise much. But during the match, I just forgot about it. I had a very tight tape. I could move," she said.

"The most important thing is that I could play my game not thinking about the ankle. I did it great today."

The 26-year-old Romanian, who currently has no clothing sponsor, was wearing the same "lucky" red dress that she used while registering a dominant victory at the Shenzhen Open just over a fortnight ago.

She found the outfit on the internet. "Was a (web)site, in China actually, and one of my managers helped me, and in 24 hours I had the outfit, and it was perfect. I was lucky," she had said before her first-round match.

It helped her fight back from 5-2 and set point down against Australian teen Aiava.

But Halep needed no extra help Thursday to overcome the sadly out-of-form Bouchard.

She will face unseeded American Lauren Davis on Saturday for a place in the last 16 as the Romanian continues her quest for a first Grand Slam title.

Results from the Australian Open on Thursday:

Men's singles

2nd round

Albert Ramos (ESP x21) bt Tim Smyczek (USA) 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (7/2)

Marton Fucsovics (HUN) bt Sam Querrey (USA x13) 6-4, 7-6 (8/6), 4-6, 6-2

Nicolas Kicker (ARG) bt Lukas Lacko (SVK) 6-2, 7-5, 1-6, 7-5

Dominic Thiem (AUT x5) bt Denis Kudla (USA) 6-7 (6/8), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3

Tomas Berdych (CZE x19) bt Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 6-3, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3

Fabio Fognini (ITA x25) bt Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1

Adrian Mannarino (FRA x26) bt Jiri Vesely (CZE) 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 6-3

Novak Djokovic (SRB x14) bt Gael Monfils (FRA) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3

Chung Hye-On (KOR) bt Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 7-6 (7/4), 6-1, 6-1

Julien Benneteau (FRA) bt David Goffin (BEL x7) 1-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-1, 7-6 (7/4)

Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG x12) bt Karen Khachanov (RUS) 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 6-7 (0/7), 6-4

Alexander Zverev (GER x4) bt Peter Gojowczyk (GER) 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3

Richard Gasquet (FRA x29) bt Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) 6-2, 6-2, 6-3

Women's singles

2nd round

Bernarda Pera (USA) bt Johanna Konta (GBR x9) 6-4, 7-5

Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE x20) bt Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) 6-3, 6-4

Maria Sharapova (RUS) bt Anastasija Sevastova (LAT x14) 6-1, 7-6 (7/4)

Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x26) bt Lesya Tsurenko (UKR) 2-6, 7-5, 6-3

Caroline Garcia (FRA x8) bt Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 8-6

Lauren Davis (USA) bt Andrea Petkovic (GER) 4-6, 6-0, 6-0

Lucie Safarova (CZE x29) bt Sorana Cirstea (ROM) 6-2, 6-4

Karolina Pliskova (CZE x6) bt Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA) 6-1, 6-1

Hsieh Su-wei (TPE) bt Garbine Muguruza (ESP x3) 7-6 (7/1), 6-4

Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) bt Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO x28) 6-3, 6-1

Angelique Kerber (GER x21) bt Donna Vekic (CRO) 6-4, 6-1

Ana Bogdan (ROM) bt Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 1-6, 6-2, 6-3

Naomi Osaka (JPN) bt Elena Vesnina (RUS x16) 7-6 (7/4), 6-2

Madison Keys (USA x17) bt Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) 6-0, 6-1

Ashleigh Barty (AUS x18) bt Camila Giorgi (ITA) 5-7, 6-4, 6-1

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