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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

Romania's Simona Halep celebrates winning the first set during her first round match against France's Alize Cornet at the Italian Open Romania’s Simona Halep celebrates winning the first set during her first round match against France’s Alize Cornet at the Italian Open AI / Reuters / Panoramic

WTA Rome 1000 | Draws | Schedule

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.

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