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Simona Halep overcomes another wobble to reach French Open round three

World number one Simona Halep beat American Taylor Townsend 6-3, 6-1 in the French Open second round on Thursday.

tennis Updated: May 31, 2018 23:15 IST
Reuters, Paris
Simona Halep,French Open,Roland Garros
Romania's Simona Halep in action during her second round French Open match against Taylor Townsend of the U.S. (REUTERS)

Simona Halep’s focus was still not as sharp as she would have liked but that did not prevent the Romanian top seed from blazing past American Taylor Townsend 6-3, 6-1 in the French Open second round on Thursday.

A day after losing the first five games of her first-round match, Halep squandered a 5-1 lead as Townsend came from 0-40 down to save three set points with two unreturnable serves and a bludgeoning backhand volley winner.

After bagging that game with an ace, the 72nd-ranked American saved another set point in the next game before breaking the twice French Open finalist, who slapped a backhand into the net.

No doubt frustrated at her inability to close out the set, Halep started grunting every time she struck the ball and that change of tack appeared to produce the desired result as she broke to win the set on her fifth set point when she ended a 16-stroke rally with a sizzling forehand winner.

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Townsend had lost all five previous matches against top-10 opponents and once Halep broke to take a 3-1 lead in the second set, that losing streak was doomed to continue.

The American, who has never won a Grand Slam match outside Roland Garros, dropped her serve again to trail 5-1 and Halep swiftly put her out of her misery by needing only one match point to book a third-round meeting with Andrea Petkovic.

First Published: May 31, 2018 21:15 IST