AUS Open: Simona Halep defeated Lizette Cabrera 6-2, 6-1 in the first round.© TBEN
Fit and shooting, Simona Halep began her bid for a first Australian Open title with an easy win over local wildcard Lizette Cabrera on Monday. The number two seed required strapping and was hampered by a lower back injury during the Gippsland Trophy warm-up, but moved with ease in the race 6-2 and 6-1 in 59 minutes on Rod Laver Arena. “I feel good, my body is in good shape,” said the Romanian, who hit 14 winners. “It’s great to be back in Melbourne.” Halep, whose seven-year top 10 streak is the longest active race in women, broke serve in the opener, then passed Cabrera, 23, who couldn’t win a game at his home, the Slam in four attempts. .
Halep, 29, is seeking a first triumph at Melbourne Park after failing Caroline Wozniacki in the 2018 decision.
She was stunned last year after a straight set loss to Garbine Muguruza in the semifinals.
Two-time Grand Slam winner Halep will once again be ready to wipe out Australian hopes when she meets Ajla Tomljanovic in the second round on Wednesday.
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