Simona Halep demolishes Naomi Osaka to reach Italian Open third round

Simona Halep will next play either Croatian Donna Vekic or American Madison Keys for a place in the quarter-finals.

Published: 16th May 2018 06:36 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th May 2018 06:22 AM   |  A+A-

Simona Halep strikes a forehand to Naomi Osaka, at the Italian Open in Rome. | AP

By AFP

ROME: Top seed Simona Halep showed no mercy dispatching Japan's Naomi Osaka in straight sets to reach the third round of the WTA Italian Open in Rome on Wednesday.

Romanian Halep powered her way to a 6-1, 6-0 victory in just under an hour at the Italico Foro to claim her fourth win over 21st-ranked Osaka in five meetings.

The 26-year-old Halep reached the final in Rome last year and needs to reach the quarter-finals this time to hold her world number one ranking.

The match looked as it was set to be a battle after Halep needed to save four break points in her opening service game for 1-1 but then reeled off 12 consecutive games to avenge her Indian Wells loss.

Osaka, 20, failed to convert any of her six break point opportunities, hitting 29 unforced errors to Halep's 14.

The Romanian will next play either Croatian Donna Vekic or American Madison Keys for a place in the quarter-finals.

Halep is building towards the French Open in two weeks time where she hopes to claim a first Grand Slam after twice finishing runner-up in Roland Garros.

France's Caroline Garcia, a semi-finalist in Madrid last week, also eased into the third round past Hungary's Timea Babos 6-3, 6-4.

Garcia, the seventh seed, went through with a break in both sets in 1hr 30min and she will next play either American Sloane Stephens or Kaia Kanepi of Estonia.

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