No spam ever. Unsubscribe in one click. By submitting your email address, you indicate your consent to receiving email marketing messages from us.

Halep vs Barty WTA Sydney Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Halep faces tough Sydney opener as the world No. 1 plays her first match in three months

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 8 Jan 2019
  • Simona Halep vs Ashleigh Barty is live from Sydney on Wednesday, 9 January from 2:30pm local time/ 3:30am GMT
  • Halep leads the head-to-head 2-0
Simona Halep. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

World No. 1, Simona Halep plays her first match in three months when she takes on Australian No. 1, Ashleigh Barty in the second round of the Sydney International on Wednesday.

Halep is making her return to the tour after ending her 2018 season early due to a herniated disc in her back. She last played on the 30th of September, when the back problem forced her to retire against Tunisia's Ons Jabeur in her opening match at the China Open in Beijing. The Romanian ended the year with four straight defeats, having fallen to Kiki Bertens in the Cincinnati final, and then suffered shock opening round exits at the US Open and Wuhan, before her Beijing retirement. 

Despite her tame finish to the year, and her inability to play at the season-ending WTA Finals, Halep had done enough to secure the year-end No. 1 ranking following a magnificent nine months. The 27-year-old claimed three titles, the most significant pf which was her maiden Grand Slam triumph at Roland Garros, while she also added the Shenzhen and Montreal crowns. Halep reached finals at the Australian Open and Cincinnati, and made semi-finals in Doha and Indian Wells to emerge as the stand-out player for the season.

Ahead of her Sydney comeback, the top seed has been cautiously optimistic about her health, explaining that she didn't feel any pains while practicing, but would have to see how her body holds up when she returns to competitive action.

"I rested for about six weeks and I did nothing, just exercises for the back,” Halep said about her recovery. “I didn’t have pain while I was practising this period, off-season. So now I feel confident and it’s okay. But I need to see during the official match”.

“I feel relaxed, I feel rested, I feel healthy with the back. But as I said, I didn’t play a match yet so I don’t know for sure how it’s going to be.”

The Romanian is starting the new season without a coach after splitting with former coach, Darren Cahill in November, and she admitted it will be difficult getting on without the Australian, who had been with her for four years. (Cahill is taking a 12-month break from coaching in order to spend more time with his family).

“It’s going to be tough, I’m sure. And it was tough, the off-season, without a coach, without Darren. But he decided this and I fully understood because family comes first always".

“So it’s okay. I’m still positive to go ahead without coach for a few months, then we will see.”

The world No. 1 faces a tough start to the year as she takes on home favourite, Ashleigh Barty in the second round.


Barty has found some very good form early on in 2019, winning two of her three group matches at the Hopman Cup, and scoring an impressive victory over Jelena Ostapenko in her first WTA match of the year in the first round in Sydney.

Ashleigh Barty. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Her 2-1 singles record at the 2019 Hopman Cup included straight sets victories over Alize Cornet and Garbine Muguruza, while her only defeat was against the excellent Angelique Kerber. 

A finalist in Sydney last year (lost to Kerber), Barty made light work of Ostapenko in her 2019 opener, easing to a 6-3 6-3 victory over the former French Open champion after just an hour and 17 minutes. The Australian dropped just four points on her first serve, while she converted five of the ten break points she engineered to record a second straight victory over Ostapenko, and improve her overall record against the Latvian to 2-1.

Barty emerged from a five-break swing with a 5-3 lead in the opening set, and she snapped that run of breaks with a hold to love to seal the first set. The home favourite scored two more breaks in the second set, and was a lot more secure on her own serve, offering just one break point (and saving it).

"I'd like my serve to be a little bit better, but it's a really solid start here," Barty said after the match. "I haven't played on this court in a year now, and it feels like a long time. It's certainly a beautiful court out here and I'm loving every second”.

"The goal is to keep improving every day. I want to become a complete player, the best player that I can be, the best Ash Barty I can be."

The Australian has certainly been doing a good job at that in the last couple of seasons, securing back-to-back top-20 finishes. Barty claimed two titles last year, in Nottingham and Zhuhai, while she reached the final in Sydney, and semi-finals in Montreal, Wuhan and Strasbourg on her way to a career-high ranking of 15. Her next goal, like she said before her Sydney opener, is to break into the top ten and go deeper in the majors. 

She currently possesses five top-ten wins, and is hopeful of adding to the list on Wednesday, and collecting her first ever victory over a player ranked No. 1 in the world when she faces Halep.

"I feel like I have played enough matches now, I'm ready, feel pretty good on the court. There's certainly no better challenge than coming up against Simona right before a slam," the Aussie said. "She's the ultimate competitor. She's the best in the world, and there's no one better to come up against to test your game."

Barty is yet to take a set off Halep in their two previous meetings, losing to the Romanian in back-to-back weeks in Montreal and Cincinnati last year. However, with the world No. 1 playing her first match in three months due to her back problems, and Barty well into her strides in 2019, the Aussie has got an incredible opportunity to score her first win over Halep on Wednesday.

Simona Halep vs Ashleigh Barty is live from Sydney on Wednesday, 9 January from 2:30pm local time/ 3:30am GMT

*Geo-restrictions apply. Customers must have funded account or placed bet within the last 24 hrs


Share this with your friends

To:
From:
Your comments:

Halep vs Barty WTA Sydney Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Halep faces tough Sydney opener as the world No. 1 plays her first match in three months

Simona Halep returns to action on Wednesday as she takes on Australian No. 1, Ashleigh Barty in the second round of the Sydney International. Can the top seed make a winning return? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

Read more »

You have unread messages

You have unread messages