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Barty defeats Halep for first victory over a World No. 1 at Sydney International

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 9 Jan 2019
  • Barty topples Halep in Sydney second round
  • First ever win for Barty over a reigning World No. 1
  • Halep still without a win since August
Ashleigh Barty (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Ashleigh Barty scored the biggest win of her career in front of her home fans on Wednesday, conquering World No. 1 Simona Halep in straight sets to advance into the quarter-finals of the Sydney International.

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While it might seem or be portrayed like an upset, the truth is that it was anything but, with Barty producing some excellent and composed tennis to defeat a rusty Halep 6-4 6-4 in the second round.

Coming into 2019 on the back of her biggest career title at the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai at the tail end of last year, Barty had a great opportunity to take advantage of out-of-match-practice Halep - and she made absolutely no mistake, moving the Romanian around with her intelligent court craft and immense variety of shots, including her trademark backhand slice.



Played in blustery conditions at Sydney’s Olympic Park in Homebush, the pivotal juncture of the match came in the opening set when the scores were level at 4-4. The Australian recovered from 0-40 to hold before breaking Halep in the next game to snatch the set with a series of punishing forehands.

Not to be deterred, Halep - who hasn’t won a match since August and was forced to shut down her 2018 season early due to a back injury - fought her way back into the match and claimed an early break. However, the top seed and World No. 1 wasn’t able to go on with the job, with an aggressive Barty breaking back before going on to secure the victory two games later.

“It was extremely difficult conditions today. It was very swirly down at court level," Barty said in her on-court interview.
"Very happy I was able to make the most of it. I dug myself into a little bit of a hole there, but I just said, 'Look mate, be aggressive'."

That mindset certainly paid dividends, with Barty firing 26 winners throughout the match - compared to just nine from Halep. The Romanian will also rue her missed chances on break points after failing to convert nine of her 11 opportunities.

Simona Halep is out of the Sydney International (Photo by PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)
It was Barty’s first ever win over a World No. 1 player and her maiden victory over Halep, who had beaten her convincingly in their previous two meetings in Montreal and Cincinnati last season.

"I finally learned my lesson. She [Halep] gave me a belting in Montreal. Learned a little bit more in Cincinnati," she said. "It feels like a big big big difference.
"I felt like it was really clean considering the conditions."

Barty, who finished runner-up to World No. 2 Angelique Kerber in Sydney last year, awaits the winner of Elise Mertens and the winner of Anett Kontaveit and Monica Puig, which takes place later on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Halep will head down to Melbourne for the Australian Open without a win in almost five months and with just one competitive match under her belt before launching her campaign at the first Grand Slam of the season.

Defending runner-up points, Halep is also without a coach for the foreseeable future after splitting with Darren Cahill at the end of last year.


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Barty defeats Halep for first victory over a World No. 1 at Sydney International

Ashleigh Barty scored the biggest win of her career in front of her home fans on Wednesday, conquering World No. 1 Simona Halep in straight sets to advance into the quarter-finals of the Sydney International.

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