Barty beats No. 1 Simona Halep in Romanian's tour return

SYDNEY — Ashleigh Barty broke Simona Halep's serve in the final game to beat the No. 1-ranked Halep 6-4, 6-4 in a second-round match Wednesday at the Sydney International.

It was Halep's first match since October after a lengthy layoff due to a herniated disc in her back. Halep won last year's French Open and lost to Caroline Wozniacki in the Australian Open final.

"I think it was a great match after almost four months since I played one full match, the U.S. Open," Halep said. "I think I played a good level of tennis. She played really well. Her slice was great today, so she deserved to win this match.

"But also I was very close to win. I had so many chances to break her and to take advantage, but I couldn't."

Halep said she was pain-free but would wait to see how she pulls up on Thursday before declaring that she is over the back injury.

"No pain at all. I'm happy about that. It's a great sign," she said. "I will recover now, and I will see how I wake up tomorrow morning."

Barty served five aces, no double-faults and broke Halep three times to reverse two previous losses to Halep last August.

"I finally learned my lesson," Barty said. "She gave me a belting in Montreal. I learned a little bit more in Cincinnati, but today I knuckled down and really thought about it and really gave myself a chance.

"The biggest thing, I believed that I could I win. We're both out here on the same court. Just very happy I was able to come out and execute."

The 27-year-old Halep will be at the Australian Open next week in Melbourne without a coach after parting ways with Australian mentor Darren Cahill, who can longer commit to Halep due to family reasons. Cahill had coached Halep for four years.

In first-round matches, 10th-seeded Elise Mertens beat qualifier Katerina Siniakova 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-2 and Anett Kontaveit defeated Monica Puig 2-6, 7-5, 6-1.

In the second round, Timea Bacsinszky defeated Samantha Stosur 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 and Yulia Putintseva beat fourth-seeded Sloane Stephens 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-0.

In men's play, Alex de Minaur beat American qualifier Reilly Opelka 6-4 7-6 (4) in a match suspended by rain after just one game on Tuesday night to advance to the quarterfinals against fellow Australian Jordan Thompson.

"I think I got lucky today. Reilly's an incredibly tough opponent," de Minaur said. "I took care of my chances. I would have loved to get the break in the second. I had a couple of chances, but I did well to focus on my serve and I'm glad things went my way today."

In other second-round matches, top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Guido Andreozzi 6-3, 6-4, third-seeded Diego Schwartzman beat qualifier Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-3, and fourth-seeded Gilles Simon defeated Sam Querrey 7-6 (5), 6-7 (6), 6-4.

Wednesday

At Olympic Park Tennis Centre

Sydney

Purse: Men, $527,880 (ATP250); Women, $823,000 (Premier)

Surface: Hard-Outdoor

Singles

Men

Second Round

Yoshihito Nishioka, Japan, def. Andrey Rublev, Russia, 6-3, 6-1.

Alex de Minaur (5), Australia, def. Reilly Opelka, United States, 6-4, 7-6 (5).

Diego Schwartzman (3), Argentina, def. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Spain, 6-2, 6-3.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (1), Greece, def. Guido Andreozzi, Argentina, 6-3, 6-4.

Andreas Seppi (8), Italy, def. Martin Klizan, Slovakia, 7-6 (2), 6-2.

Gilles Simon (4), France, def. Sam Querrey, United States, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (6), 6-4.

John Millman, Australia, def. Marton Fucsovics (7), Hungary, 6-3, 6-4.

Women

First Round

Anett Kontaveit, Estonia, def. Monica Puig, Puerto Rico, 2-6, 7-5, 6-1.

Elise Mertens (10), Belgium, def. Katerina Siniakova, Czech Republic, 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-2.

Second Round

Timea Bacsinszky, Switzerland, def. Sam Stosur, Australia, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.

Ashleigh Barty, Australia, def. Simona Halep (1), Romania, 6-4, 6-4.

Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Belarus, def. Priscilla Hon, Australia, 0-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Petra Kvitova (5), Czech Republic, def. Hsieh Su-wei, Taiwan, 7-6 (2), 6-2.

Yulia Putintseva, Kazakhstan, def. Sloane Stephens (4), United States, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-0.

Elise Mertens (10), Belgium, def. Anett Kontaveit, Estonia, 6-3, 6-1.

Doubles

Men

First Round

Lleyton Hewitt and Jordan Thompson, Australia, def. Rajeev Ram, United States, and Joe Salisbury (4), Britain, 6-1, 6-3.

Quarterfinals

Jamie Murray, Britain, and Bruno Soares (2), Brazil, def. Ivan Dodig, Croatia, and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, France, 7-5, 6-3.

Ken and Neal Skupski, Britain, def. Alex Bolt and Matt Reid, Australia, 6-4, 7-6 (4).

Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah (1), Colombia, def. Matthew Ebden, Australia, and Robert Lindstedt, Sweden, 6-3, 7-6 (1).

Women

First Round

Aleksandra Krunic, Serbia, and Katerina Siniakova, Czech Republic, def. Timea Bacsinszky, Switzerland, and Petra Martic, Croatia, 6-2, 6-3.

Quarterfinals

Miyu Kato and Makoto Ninomiya, Japan, def. Nadiia Kichenok, Ukraine, and Barbora Strycova (4), Czech Republic, 1-6, 6-3, 10-8.

Eri Hozumi, Japan, and Alicja Rosolska, Poland, def. Anna-Lena Groenefeld, Germany, and Vania King, United States, 6-3, 2-6, 10-8.

Andreja Klepac, Slovenia, and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (3), Spain, def. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, United States, and Demi Schuurs, Netherlands, 2-6, 6-1, 10-8.

WTA Hobart International Results

Wednesday

At The Domain Tennis Centre

Hobart, Australia

Purse: $226,750 (Intl.)

Surface: Hard-Outdoor

Singles

Second Round

Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, Slovakia, def. Alison Van Uytvanck (8), Belgium, 6-3, 6-2.

Kirsten Flipkens (7), Belgium, def. Viktoria Kuzmova, Slovakia, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-1.

Dayana Yastremska, Ukraine, def. Vera Lapko, Belarus, 6-1, 6-4.

Belinda Bencic, Switzerland, def. Zoe Hives, Australia, 6-2, 6-4.

Irina-Camelia Begu, Romania, def. Anna Blinkova, Russia, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2.

Sofia Kenin, United States, def. Ons Jabeur, Tunisia, 7-6 (6), 6-3.

Greet Minnen, Belgium, def. Magda Linette, Poland, 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (3).

Alize Cornet (6), France, def. Pauline Parmentier, France, 6-3, 6-0.

Doubles

Quarterfinals

Monica Niculescu, Romania, and Yang Zhaoxuan (3), China, def. Raluca Olaru, Romania, and Galina Voskoboeva, Kazakhstan, 6-1, 6-4.

Kirsten Flipkens, Belgium, and Johanna Larsson (4), Sweden, def. Darija Jurak, Croatia, and Desirae Krawczyk, United States, 6-1, 6-4.

Anastasia Potapova, Russia, and Dayana Yastremska, Ukraine, def. Irina-Camelia Begu and Mihaela Buzarnescu (2), Romania, 6-4, 7-6 (3).

ATP Tour ASB Classic Results

Wednesday

At ASB Tennis Arena

Auckland, New Zealand

Purse: $527,880 (ATP250)

Surface: HaRD-Outdoor

Singles

Second Round

Taylor Fritz, United States, def. John Isner (1), United States, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5).

Tennys Sandgren, United States, def. Marco Cecchinato (3), Italy, 6-3, 6-3.

Fabio Fognini (2), Italy, def. Peter Gojowczyk, Germany, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (5).

Leonardo Mayer, Argentina, def. Matteo Berrettini, Italy, 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-3.

Cameron Norrie, Britain, def. Joao Sousa, Portugal, 7-6 (5), 6-4.

Philipp Kohlschreiber, Germany, def. Ugo Humbert, France, 6-4, 6-4.

Pablo Carreno Busta (4), Spain, def. David Ferrer, Spain, 1-1 retired.

Jan-Lennard Struff, Germany, def. Rubin Statham, New Zealand, 6-2, 6-1.

Doubles

First Round

Marcus Daniell, New Zealand, and Wesley Koolhof, Netherlands, def. Philipp Oswald, Austria, and Tim Puetz, Germany, 6-4, 7-6 (1).

Quarterfinals

Oliver Marach, Austria, and Mate Pavic (1), Croatia, def. Henri Kontinen, Finland, and Frederik Nielsen, Denmark, 6-3, 7-6 (4).

Del Potro scheduled to open season at Delray Beach Open

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Juan Martin del Potro plans to make his season debut at the Delray Beach Open next month.

The hard-court tournament announced Wednesday that its 2011 champion is committed to playing in the first round on Feb. 19.

Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, is sitting out the year's first Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open, as he continues to recover after fracturing his right kneecap in October.

The Argentine is currently ranked No. 5.

He won the U.S. Open in 2009 and was the runner-up at that major last year.

This would be his third consecutive appearance at the Delray Open.