27 January 2020

Two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep beats Elise Mertens to reach Australian Open last eight

Simona Halep booked her place in the Australian Open quarter-finals with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Belgian Elise Mertens.

After sharing a break apiece in the opening six games, the Romanian broke for a second time late on in the first set to put one foot in the last eight.

The second set was a more back and forth affair as two-time Grand Slam champion Halep broke twice before Mertens came roaring back to level things up at 4-4.

But it was the 2019 Wimbledon winner who kept her composure at the crucial moments to find the pivotal break and secure the victory.

After the match, Halep said: "I played Elise in the Doha final last year - I led by a set and was up 4-2 but lost the match.

"I knew I had to stay focused today. I was a little nervous at 4-3 but was strong enough to finish."

Halep is raising money for the Australian bushfire relief fund and will donate 200 Australian dollars for every time she moans at her coach Darren Cahill.

"Darren is counting the looks," she added. "Was I worse than the last match? Yes. But it's for a good cause. He said he would tell me the total at the end of the tournament."

The 28-year-old will now face Anett Kontaveit for a place in the last four after the Estonian came from a set down to beat Poland's Iga Swiatek 6-7 (4) 7-5 7-5.

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