Rome - Top seed Simona Halep showed no mercy dispatching
Japan's Naomi Osaka in straight sets to reach the third round of the WTA
Italian Open in Rome on Wednesday.
Romanian Halep powered her way to a 6-1, 6-0 victory in just
under an hour at the Italico Foro to claim her fourth win over 21st-ranked
Osaka in five meetings.
The 26-year-old Halep reached the final in Rome last year
and needs to reach the quarter-finals this time to hold her world number one
The match looked as it was set to be a battle after Halep
needed to save four break points in her opening service game for 1-1 but then
reeled off 12 consecutive games to avenge her Indian Wells loss.
Osaka, 20, failed to convert any of her six break point
opportunities, hitting 29 unforced errors to Halep's 14.
The Romanian will next play either Croatian Donna Vekic or
American Madison Keys for a place in the quarter-finals.
Halep is building towards the French Open in two weeks time
where she hopes to claim a first Grand Slam after twice finishing runner-up in
France's Caroline Garcia, a semi-finalist in Madrid last
week, also eased into the third round past Hungary's Timea Babos 6-3, 6-4.
Garcia, the seventh seed, went through with a break in both
sets in 1hr 30min and she will next play either American Sloane Stephens or
Kaia Kanepi of Estonia.
Results from the ATP and WTA Masters tournament in Rome on Wednesday (x denotes seeded player):
Simona Halep (ROM x1) bt Naomi Osaka (JPN) 6-1, 6-0
Caroline Garcia (FRA x7) bt Timea Babos (HUN) 6-3, 6-4