Simona Halep survives huge scare against Sofia Kenin
Number one seed Simona Halep survived a huge scare at the Australian Open, beating up-and-coming American star Sofia Kenin 6-3 7-6(5) 6-4 to progress to the third round at Melbourne Park.
Halep, a finalist in 2018, survived a thorough examination of her Australian Open credentials, fighting back from a break down in the deciding set to set up a third-round showdown with Venus Williams.
The Romanian has struggled for form and fitness since her first-round defeat at the US Open last August and came into the year's first Grand Slam short of preparation after a back injury ended her 2018 season prematurely.
"I just fought because I wanted to win and to come back here to play in front of you," said Halep in an on-court interview.
She broke the 20-year-old Kenin twice in the first set but the American fought back in the second set from 3-0 down to level it at 1-1 in the tiebreaker.
Halep then got the crucial break in the third set to go up 5-4 and converted her second match point for the victory in two hours and 31 minutes.
With additional reporting from agencies