Hello and welcome to LIVE updates of the round 2 clash between world No.1 Simona Halep and Canada's Eugenie Bouchard on Margaret Court Arena.
S. Halep vs E. Bouchard | Australian Open
Women's Singles | Round 2 | 18.01.2018 | Margaret Court Arena
S. Halep (1)
GAME, SET AND MATCH! - BOUCHARD 2-6 2-6 HALEP. Simona books her place in round three with a routine victory over the former world No.5, Genie Bouchard. The Romanian always looked in control and overcame a mini blip at 30-40 to serve out the contest in one hour and six minutes. She will now meet USA's Lauren Davis, the world No.50, next.
BREAK! - BOUCHARD 2-6 2-5 HALEP. Another deflating moment for Bouchard. She produces some lovely touches at the net to fend off break point - but can't halt Halep's relentless attack. The Canadian comes unstuck in another lung-bursting rally as the world No.1 unleashes a scorching backhand to the baseline to break again. She will now serve for the match.
BOUCHARD 2-6 2-4 HALEP. Too strong. Halep consolidates to 15 and looks set to wrap this up in the near future.
BREAK! - BOUCHARD 2-6 2-3 HALEP. The top seed fires herself up and follows up a winner down the line with a vicious return that is too hot for Genie to handle. Normal service resumed as a Bouchard service game ends in disappointment for the Canadian.
BOUCHARD 2-6 2-2 HALEP. A first ace of the match helps Halep to a simple hold to 15. The Romanian looks very composed out there.
Meanwhile, off the court, the press room is in joyous mood after Angelique Kerber gave her birthday cake to the media!
BOUCHARD 2-6 2-1 HALEP. The Canadian finally conjures up a hold as Halep fizzes long of the baseline at 40-30. It'll give the world No.112 a lift, as will a glance at the Set 2 score on the board. Match on? Or merely a minor irritation for the Romanian?
BREAK! - BOUCHARD 2-6 1-1 HALEP. Genie bites back! A crunching winner down the line tees up double break point and she stays in the next rally long enough to see Halep misfire into the right alley she is facing. Bouchard has already proved she can dismantle the Halep serve, but unless she can dig out some holds on her own the pattern of this match will continue with only one winner likely at the end.
BREAK! - BOUCHARD 2-6 0-1 HALEP. No let up. Halep's level continues to soar with Bouchard clearly battling both the world No.1 and her own plunging level of confidence. She remains without a game on serve as Halep breaks her to love to get off to a flyer at the start of set 2.
SET! - BOUCHARD 2-6 HALEP. Simona finds her service rhythm at the perfect moment, serving out the opener to love. She's been solid and steady with the occasional sprinkling of potent forehands. Bouchard remains erratic, mixing the sublime with the somewhat woeful. This was built up as a potential shock, but the Canadian needs to do something special to achieve that from this juncture.
BREAK! - BOUCHARD 2-5 HALEP. One step forward, but two back for Bouchard. She gives Halep too much of an opportunity at 0-40. Two super serves get her back in with a shout before Halep follows up a rasping return with an athletic crosscourt drive volley. The world No.1 will now serve for the set.
BREAK! - BOUCHARD 2-4 HALEP. You can see why Bouchard was world No.5 back in the tail-end of 2014. When her tennis fires she's got some real weapons. The issue is getting it to work consistently. She does it here and to emphatic effect, snatching a break back with some dominant play. Serving is still a major issue for both players here.
BREAK! - BOUCHARD 1-4 HALEP. That's a real blow for Bouchard's confidence. Some smart anticipation after luring Halep into the net puts her 40-15 to the good, but the world No.1 hits big to snare a break opportunity from deuce. A second ace of the match gives Genie hope, but a crisp crosscourt forehand from Simona clinches the double break lead.
BOUCHARD 1-3 HALEP. We have a hold! This time Halep makes it count, benefitting from a glaring overhead long from Genie before taking it to 15 with a stonking high forehand that licked the paint on the far edge of the baseline.
BREAK! - BOUCHARD 1-2 HALEP. Right now, this is not a match that could be useful for anyone putting together a manual on serving. Bouchard digs deep from double break point down but can't wriggle her way out from deuce. Halep beats away at her defences and snares another breakthrough.