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Halep tested, Kovinic upsets Bencic

This content was published 2 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

Simona Halep came out on top in a tricky opening round encounter against Jasmine Paolini 6-3 6-4 at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Wednesday.

The top seed was tested from the outset, finding herself a break down after her first service game as the world No.99 came out firing. Halep responded with two consecutive breaks to edge ahead but the Italian wildcard appeared unfazed, producing some clean hitting to break her opponent again and level the score at 3-3. At this point the Romanian changed gear, she started to serve and move better and another two breaks of serve allowed her to clinch the opener 6-3.

Both players struggled to dominate on serve in the second set. Six successive breaks of serve ensued before Halep, who is now on a 10-match winning streak having won her last two tournaments at Dubai and Prague, managed to hold and then sealed victory with the 13th break of the match.

“I was a little bit tight at the beginning. Actually, the whole match it was a little bit difficult to get the rhythm and to get relaxed. But it’s always tough the first match of the tournament, and she didn’t play bad. She played really well,” said Halep.

The world No.2 will face either Dayana Yastremska or Amanda Anisimova for a place in the quarter-finals.

No.6 seed Belinda Bencic exited the tournament at the hands of qualifier Danka Kovinic 6-3 6-1, the Montenegrin continuing the impressive run of form that saw her reach the last eight at Istanbul last week and overcome Julia Goerges 6-1 6-0 in the first round here.

The first set was an even affair with the match progressing on serve until the eighth game when the world No.86 was able to secure what would be a decisive break. From that stage it was all about Kovinic, the 25-year-old won nine of the last 10 games of the match to earn just the second top 10 win of her career and set up a third round meeting with No.11 seed Elise Mertens. The Belgian continued her good form of late with a 6-2 6-4 victory over Magda Linette.

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