Australian Open 2019: Simona Halep survives scare to beat Sofia Kenin to advance

Simona Halep and Sofia Kenin
Sofia Kenin (right) won the Hobart International before the Australian Open began
Australian Open 2019
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 14-27 January
Coverage: Daily live commentaries on the BBC Sport website, listen to Tennis Breakfast daily from 07:00 GMT on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and watch highlights on BBC TV and online from 19 January.

World number one Simona Halep survived a scare to beat American Sofia Kenin and reach the Australian Open third round.

The Romanian had been cruising to victory after leading by a set and a break before finding herself a break down in the third.

She kept her composure to break back in the seventh game of the decider before going on to win 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-4.

"I have no idea how I won," said Halep, who next faces Venus Williams.

It is the first time since Wimbledon in 2009 that all of the women's top eight seeds have reached the third round at a Grand Slam.

Halep finds herself in danger (again)

Halep, who has started the season without a coach, was runner-up to Caroline Wozniacki in last year's Australian Open final.

Since winning the French Open in May for her maiden Grand Slam title, she made a third-round exit at Wimbledon and was knocked out in the first round of the US Open.

At last year's Australian Open Halep had to save three match points in her second-round match against American Lauren Davis.

She has looked in danger of the same thing happening here, having also struggled in her opening match where she came from a set down to progress.

Having broken twice in the first set and then in the second game of the second, Halep looked in command before Kenin - and her ferocious backhand - broke back in the fifth game of the second set.

Halep, who cut short her 2018 season with a back injury, said she had been "a little bit injured in the second set" but did not give any details.

"It was difficult to stay in there for every ball and run so much," she added. "But I just fought because I wanted to win."

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