Simona Halep was made to work in her opening-round match against Magdalena Frech. The Romanian eventually prevailed 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 29 minutes. Halep began the match by taking control over the rallies and was able to go up an early break in the first set.
However, the former world no. 1 wasn’t able to exert control over her errors and promptly handed the break back to the Pole. Over the course of the next few games, both players engaged in gut-busting rallies at the back of the court.
Although Halep came out on top on most of these points, she had to dig deep not only to keep Frech out of position but also to come up with winners so as to outplay the latter. Halep had a brief blip in her level as she dropped her serve in the eighth game when serving for the opening set after having secured a third break in the previous game.
However, she composed herself and at the second time of asking, in the 10th game, was able to serve it out and take the lead in the match. In the second set, as in the first set, both players traded breaks. But it was Frech who gained an upper hand in the proceedings as she broke Halep in the fourth game to go up 3-1.
Her lead didn’t last long and Halep rallied back into the match and from that moment around, there were no missteps from her. She found more winners while scaling back on her errors and two breaks. A third break on Frech’s serve in the seventh game gave her the lead once again in the set.
Frech, serving to stay in the match in the ninth game, wasn’t able to deal with the pressure and despite saving one match point, wasn’t able to save the second as an error put paid to her hopes of extending the match further.
Halep finished with more than twice as many winners as Frech – 25 to 12 and had 28 unforced errors to the latter’s 22. The 2018 Australian Open finalist will play either American qualifier, Katie Volynets or Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil next.
Australian Open: Anett Kontaveit gets the ball rolling
Anett Kontaveit reached the second round of the 2022 Australian Open with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Katerina Siniakova on Tuesday. The sixth-seeded Estonian had her up and down moments in the one-hour-21-minute-long match but wasn’t under much trouble from her Czech opponent.
Pacy and strong rallies dominated the match punctuated by occasional net approaches. The baseline exchanges were won by Kontaveit whose shot timings saw her produce winner after winner while drawing out the errors from Siniakova.
Points at the net were, however, mostly clinched by Siniakova. Kontaveit lost her serve twice in the match – in the third game of both sets – but each time thereafter, she rebounded strongly. In the first set, after dropping her serve, the Estonian won the next five games to wrap up the set in 41 minutes.
The second set looked to be following on the same lines as the first as Kontaveit won four consecutive games, putting herself within reach of a win. Siniakova, however, came up with one last attempt at survival and held her serve, forcing Kontaveit to serve for the match in the ninth game.
Serving for the match, Kontaveit faced two break points but saved them before wrapping up the win on her second match point. Kontaveit hit 26 winners, nine more than Siniakova’s 17 and had 28 unforced errors, five fewer than her opponent’s 33.
In terms of net points won, the doubles no. 1 won seven of the nine points she played at the net with Kontaveit winning eight of the 12 points she played at the net. For a place in the third round of the 2022 Australian Open, Kontaveit will now take on either Clara Tauson or Astra Sharma.