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Tennis: Halep races past Osaka in Rome, Wozniacki advances in Italian Open

Tennis: Halep races past Osaka in Rome, Wozniacki advances in Italian Open 44

(Reuters) – World number one Simona Halep produced a ruthless display to see off Japan’s Naomi Osaka 6-1 6-0 in the second round of the Italian Open on Wednesday.

Tennis: Halep races past Osaka in Rome, Wozniacki advances in Italian Open 54
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – WTA Mandatory – Madrid Open – Madrid, Spain – May 10, 2018 Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova in action during her quarter final match against Romania’s Simona Halep REUTERS/Paul Hanna

Romanian Halep was forced to save four break points in her opening service game for 1-1 but then went on to claim 12 consecutive games to avenge her Indian Wells loss to eventual champion Osaka in March.

The 20-year-old Osaka failed to convert any of her six break-point opportunities before conceding the match in just under an hour.

“I just tried to build my points, to build a little bit of space and open the court, and tried to make winners,” Halep said.

“It’s tough to make winners on this court, for me, but it’s good when I can build the point. I just want to play like today.”

Tennis: Halep races past Osaka in Rome, Wozniacki advances in Italian Open 55
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – WTA Premier 5 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 14, 2018 Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her first round match against Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka REUTERS/Max Rossi

Halep will next meet American Madison Keys, who clinched a 7-6(2) 7-6(0) win over Croatian qualifier Donna Vekic.

Second seed Caroline Wozniacki began her campaign with a comfortable 6-1 6-4 victory over Belgian Alison van Uytvanck.

The 27-year-old Dane, chasing her first claycourt title since 2011, will face 15th seed Anastasija Sevastova for a place in the quarter-finals.

A decade after they last met in Rome, Maria Sharapova once again did enough to secure a victory over Dominika Cibulkova in three sets.

Former world number one Sharapova struck 41 winners as she rallied back from a set down to edge her Slovakian opponent 3-6 6-4 6-2 in a thrilling 2-1/2 hour contest.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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