Simona Halep advanced into the Australian Open second round on Tuesday, holding off American Jennifer Brady 7-6(5), 6-1 to move on in one hour and 36 minutes.
“I knew that she’s going to be very motivated at the beginning. We played together a few months ago, and it was very close,” said Halep. “I just had to push her back as much as possible, to make her run, playing a little bit both sides. I served pretty okay. After that very tough set, in the second set I’ve been more relaxed. I’ve been a little bit more aggressive. I tried to finish some points, which I did.”
Halep had to save three set points in the opening set, but after taking the opener in a tiebreaker, committed just four unforced errors in the second set to advance in straight sets.
Up next for the two-time Grand Slam champion is British qualifier Harriet Dart, who came back to beat Japan’s Misaki Doi 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(6).
American CiCi Bellis won her first Grand Slam match in three years, defeating Germany’s Tatjana Maria 6-0, 6-2. Injuries have forced Bellis to miss the last couple of years on tour, but the young American is back to competing at the highest level, and is into the Australian Open second round.
Bellis will play 20th seed Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic next.
Bellis’ compatriots, 10th seed Madison Keys, 18th seed Alison Riske, 26th seed Danielle Collins and Lauren Davis, found their way into the second round in Melbourne with wins on Tuesday.
Other notable winners on the women’s side included second-seed Karolina Pliskova, fifth-seed Elina Svitolina, sixth-seed Belinda Bencic, 17th seed Angelique Kerber and 19th seed Donna Vekic.