Sydney: World number one Simona Halep suffered a shocking defeat at the hands of Australia’s Ashleigh Barty in her opening clash of the ongoing Sydney International here at the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre on Wednesday.
Playing in her first match of the year, the 27-year-old stumbled to a 6-4, 6-4 loss against Barty in a clash that lasted one hour and 27 minutes.
The Australian drew the first blood in the opening set and gets away with an initial lead. Halep, while maintaining her swift style of play, leveled the score at 3-3 but could not match the accuracy level of Barty and conceded the set 6-4.
The second set saw the Romanian player getting the first break point. She maintained a healthy 5-3 lead in the second set and looked strong to score a leveler. Halep’s daunting opponent, however, had other plans. With the help of some stunning mix of shots, Barty stunned the world number one to advance further in the tournament.
Barty has made a good start to the 2019 season having defeated two French open winners in her opening clashes of the year. Before, Halep she had thrashed Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in their round of 32 clash of the Sydney International.