Tsitsipas Defeated Guido Andreozzi, Ash Barty Beats No. 1 Simona Halep

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece reaches to play a forehand to Guido Andreozzi of Argentina during their men's singles match at the Sydney International tennis tournament in Sydney, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

SYDNEY (AP) — Ashleigh Barty broke Simona Halep’s serve in the final game to beat the No. 1-ranked Halep 6-4, 6-4 in a second-round match Wednesday at the Sydney International.

It was Halep’s first match since October after a lengthy layoff due to a herniated disc in her back. Halep won last year’s French Open and lost to Caroline Wozniacki in the Australian Open final.

“I think it was a great match after almost four months since I played one full match, the U.S. Open,” Halep said. “I think I played a good level of tennis. She played really well. Her slice was great today, so she deserved to win this match.

“But also I was very close to win. I had so many chances to break her and to take advantage, but I couldn’t.”

Halep said she was pain-free but would wait to see how she pulls up on Thursday before declaring that she is over the back injury.

“No pain at all. I’m happy about that. It’s a great sign,” she said. “I will recover now, and I will see how I wake up tomorrow morning.”

Barty served five aces, no double-faults and broke Halep three times to reverse two previous losses to Halep last August.

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece plays a forehand to Guido Andreozzi of Argentina during their men’s singles match at the Sydney International tennis tournament in Sydney, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

“I finally learned my lesson,” Barty said. “She gave me a belting in Montreal. I learned a little bit more in Cincinnati, but today I knuckled down and really thought about it and really gave myself a chance.

“The biggest thing, I believed that I could I win. We’re both out here on the same court. Just very happy I was able to come out and execute.”

The 27-year-old Halep will be at the Australian Open next week in Melbourne without a coach after parting ways with Australian mentor Darren Cahill, who can longer commit to Halep due to family reasons. Cahill had coached Halep for four years.

In first-round matches, 10th-seeded Elise Mertens beat qualifier Katerina Siniakova 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-2 and Anett Kontaveit defeated Monica Puig 2-6, 7-5, 6-1.

In the second round, Timea Bacsinszky beat Samantha Stosur 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.

In men’s play, Alex de Minaur beat American qualifier Reilly Opelka 6-4 7-6 (4) in a match suspended by rain after just one game on Tuesday night to advance to the quarterfinals against fellow Australian Jordan Thompson.

“I think I got lucky today. Reilly’s an incredibly tough opponent,” de Minaur said. “I took care of my chances. I would have loved to get the break in the second. I had a couple of chances, but I did well to focus on my serve and I’m glad things went my way today.”

In other second-round matches, top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Guido Andreozzi 6-3, 6-4, third-seeded Diego Schwartzman beat qualifier Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-3, Yoshihito Nishioka defeated Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-1 and No. 8 Andreas Seppi beat Martin Klizan 7-6 (2), 6-2.

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece prepares to serve to Guido Andreozzi of Argentina during their men’s singles match at the Sydney International tennis tournament in Sydney, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

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