23 January 2020

Harriet Dart beaten by Wimbledon champion Simona Halep as British singles hopes end at Australian Open

British hopes at the Australian Open came to an end as Harriet Dart was beaten 6-2 6-4 by two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep.

The 23 year-old, who was playing in the second round at Melbourne for the first time, was the last Briton in the tournament following early defeats for Johanna Konta, Heather Watson, Katie Boulter, Dan Evans, Kyle Edmund and Cameron Norrie.

And while Dart put up a valiant effort to try and stop the 2018 finalist in her tracks, Halep proved too much as she overpowered her young challenger.

It took until the fourth game of the match for either player to hold their serve, with Halep eventually breaking Dart for a third time to clinch the first set.

The Wimbledon champion then began to build up a head of steam at the start of the second as she won four games on the bounce to take a commanding lead.

But Dart did not let that deter her as she continued to plug away, trading groundstrokes with the Romanian and forcing a break back of her own.

However, it was ultimately in vain as Halep served out the match to book her place in the third round in Melbourne for a sixth time.

And she will face Yulia Putintseva for a place in the fourth round after the Kazakh defeated American Danielle Collins 6-4 2-6 7-5 in a thrilling contest lasting two hours and 37 minutes.

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