Second seed Halep makes short work of qualifier Townsend in Miami
Simona Halep moved into the third round of the Miami Open after a comfortable victory over American qualifier Taylor Townsend in just over an hour to win 6-1 6-3.
Halep, the world number three, lost only four games en route to victory and broke Townsend five times across the course of the match.
Townsend fell 4-0 behind in the first set and struggled on serve, double-faulting five times and winning just 48% of her first serve points.
There was disappointment for Britain’s Johanna Konta, however, who dropped out in the second round after losing 10 consecutive games in a straight-sets defeat to China’s Wang Qiang 6-4 6-0.
Qiang will next face Serena Williams, an eight-time champion at this competition, after the American battled past Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson in three sets.
The 23-time grand slam winner, who last lifted the trophy in Miami in 2015, was back on court for the first time after retiring against Garbine Muguruza at Indian Wells last week.
Williams hit nine aces and survived a second-set wobble to advance 6-3 1-6 6-1 in one hour and 37 minutes.
“I could not lose this match. I knew that I could play a lot, lot, lot better. I just had to be better,” she told the WTA website.
Meanwhile, Cori Gauff, who yesterday became the youngest player to win a WTA main draw match in a decade, had her campaign cut short by number 14 seed Daria Kasatkina.
Russian Kasatkina advanced 6-3 6-2 over the 17-year-old in little more than an hour and will now meet Venus Williams in the third round.
Last week’s BNP Paribas Open champion Bianca Andreescu continued her winning form with a 6-3 6-3 victory over American Sofia Kenin to set up a rematch of the Indian Wells final against Angelique Kerber.
Kerber booked her place in the next round with a 3-6 6-3 6-3 win over qualifier Karolina Muchova, while top seed Naomi Osaka, who had a first-round bye, also needed three sets to beat Yanina Wickmayer 6-0 6-7 (3) 6-1.
Also moving into the third round is Caroline Wozniacki, who beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-4 6-4, but former world number one Garbine Muguruza tumbled out of the tournament after being beaten 7-6 (0) 4-6 6-2 by Monica Niculescu.