Barty stuns Simona Halep in Sydney

Sydney, Jan 9 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 1/9/2019 11:40:25 AM IST

Ashleigh Barty has beaten World No.1 Simona Halep in straight sets to stamp her credentials as an Australian Open contender.

Barty, who once quit the sport to play Big Bash cricket, defeated Halep 6-4 6-4 to claim the biggest scalp of her career.
Barty hung tough at 4-4, 0-40 against the relentless Halep, and she again shaved off two break points when serving at 4-4 in the second set.
Barty has now beaten three French Open champions in less than a fortnight- Garbine Muguruza, Jelena Ostapenko and Halep.
Asked if she could win the Australian Open, Barty said, “I’m in the draw, so why not?”
“I finally learnt my lesson,” a beaming Barty said.
“She gave me a belting in Montreal. I learnt a little bit more in Cincinnati, but today I knuckled down and really thought about it and really gave myself a chance.”
“The biggest thing, I believed that I could I win. We’re both out here on the same court. I felt like it was really clean, considering the conditions.” “It was very swirly down at court level so I figure if I’m going to play ‘Sim’ at any time, it’s her first match and in conditions like this. So I was very happy I was able to make the most of it. Yeah, extremely pleased.”
While Barty marches on in pursuit of a second straight final in Sydney, Halep’s defeat leaves her Australian Open preparations in tatters.
The 27-year-old has not won a match in five months after an injury-marred end to 2018 and will also be in Melbourne without a coach after parting ways with Australian mentor Darren Cahill, who can longer commit to Halep due to family reasons.
Meanwhile, Swiss Timea Bacsinszky has fought back to deny Samantha Stosur a rare foray into the Sydney International quarter-finals.
Bacsinszky rallied from a set down to defeat Stosur 5-7 6-4 6-3 in a seesawing encounter stretching a minute shy of two and a half hours.
Despite Stosur missing out on only a third last-eight place in 12 visits to Sydney, the epic work-out was a perfect warm-up for the Australian Open starting in Melbourne on Monday.

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