World No 1 Simona Halep beaten on return from lengthy injury lay-off

Ashleigh Barty Sydney Sydney International

ASH Barty claimed one of the biggest wins of her career after destroying World No.1 Simona Halep in straight sets to reach the Sydney International quarter-finals.

This was after Barty had shut out another Grand Slam victor in her first round match, defeating Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets too. Her slice was great today, so she deserved to win this match.

Asked about being down 0-40 at a crucial point in the first set, Barty said she gave herself a quick pep-talk on the court.

Her play improved from there.

"But also I was very close to winning".

"No pain at all, that is a great sign", she added of her back.

"I think I played a good level of tennis".

Barty will play either Anett Kontaveitt or Elise Mertens in the quarter-finals.

Greek youngster Tsitsipas, who won the ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan a year ago, broke his opponent three times and held off a late comeback to move into the quarter-finals.

"I think it was a great match after nearly four months since I played one full match", Halep said.

Highlighting the win was the fact Barty had failed to take a set off Halep in their two previous meetings.

"It was extremely hard conditions, very swirly down at court level".

"I knew that Sim would be a little bit rusty, being her first match of the year, first match in a while".

"I learned my lesson - she gave me a belting in Montreal and I learned a little bit more in Cincinnati", she said. Just very happy I was able to come out and execute.' The 27-year-old Halep will be at the Australian Open next week in Melbourne without a coach after parting ways with Australian mentor Darren Cahill, who can longer commit to Halep due to family reasons. 'The biggest thing, I believed that I could I win.

In flawless preparation ahead of the Australian Open, World No.15 Barty dominated Halep 6-4 6-4 as the expectations of Australia's top-ranked tennis player continue to grow.

Fourth seed Stephens was beaten by Johanna Konta in the first round of the Brisbane International last week, and the American had to recover from a first-set bagel to defeat qualifier Ekaterina Alexandrova in the opening round in Sydney. In the second round, Timea Bacsinszky beat Samantha Stosur 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.

The 2011 US Open victor took the first set 7-5 but lost the next two 6-4, 6-3 to crash out in the second round.

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