Halep overcomes spirited challenge from Cornet to reach second round in Rome
Playing her second tournament with new coach Patrick Mouratoglou, the two-time Grand Slam champ will face Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins next
Former world No 1 Simona Halep overcame a spirited challenge from French veteran Alize Cornet to reach the second round of the WTA Internazionali BNL d’ Italia in Rome.
The 30-year-old Romanian is playing just her second tournament with new coach Patrick Mouratoglou in her team.
Their first outing resulted in a quarter-final finish in Madrid last week, where Halep was defeated by the eventual champion Ons Jabeur.
Halep avenges January’s Australian Open loss to Cornet with today’s win
Cornet has been a player who has posed major problems for the Romanian in the past, leading their head-to-head 4-1, including a fourth-round win at the Australian Open earlier this year which propelled Cornet into her first career Grand Slam quarter-final.
On Monday though, it was Halep who got off to the better start, as she broke Cornet twice to jump to a 5-1 lead. The Frenchwoman, known for her fighting spirit, fought back to 5-4 but Halep was able to hold her serve in the 10th game to win the first set 6-4.
The second set followed a similar pattern, with the Romanian breaking twice again to establish a 5-2 lead and serve for the match. Cornet once again fought back to cut down the lead to 5-4 before Halep served out the match 6-4, 6-4 for a win in one hour and 26 minutes.
The wins sets up a mouth-watering second round clash with feisty American Danielle Collins, the 2022 Australian Open runner-up and seventh seed this week.
Collins, who received a bye in the first round, has split her two matches with the 21-st ranked Halep. The American won their most recent encounter, in the round of 32 in Montreal last year in three sets while Halep had won their first-round clash at the US Open in 2014, also in three sets.