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WTA (Women's Tennis Association)

Halep fires Australian Open warning with Shenzhen title

World No 1 from Romania gears up for the first grand slam of the year with victory across the border while Switzerland win the Hopman Cup

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 January, 2018, 10:53pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 January, 2018, 10:53pm

World No 1 Simona ­Halep, of ­Romania, is firmly on track for the Australian Open after clinching the Shenzhen Open last night.

The Czech Republic’s Katerina Siniakova fought back to take the second set as Halep ­appeared to lose focus but the top seed ­regained her composure to break Siniakova’s serve three times in the third set to seal a comfortable 6-1, 2-6, ­6-0 win. The match was moved to an indoor court because of rain.

“We had a great match. I tried everything to win,” Halep said. “I just try to enjoy the moment even if it’s a little bit different indoors. It’s not easy but we did our job and I’m happy that I could win the first title of the year,” Halep said.

“I’m just taking it tournament by tournament and of course I will give my best in every match I will play and my dream is to win a grand slam.”

With holder Serena Williams having withdrawn from the first grand slam of the year, Halep and Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, who won the Brisbane International title yesterday, have made strong statements ahead of the event, which begins on January 15.

Svitolina demolished Belarusian qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 6-1 to win the Brisbane title. In the men, Australian Nick Kyrgios beat top seed Grigor Dimitrov 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 to reach the final against American Ryan Harrison who ended the fairy-tale run of 18-year-old wild card Alex de Minaur 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.

Meanwhile, top seed Caroline Wozniacki battled through two matches over four hours to set up a final against second seed Julia Goerges at the Auckland Classic.

Heavy rain caused havoc with the schedule, forcing organisers to play the quarter-finals and both semi-finals yesterday and move the final to today.

In Perth, Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic won the deciding mixed doubles over Germany to give Switzerland their third ­Hopman Cup title.

Reuters, Agence France-Presse, Associated Press