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Barty stuns world number one Halep at Sydney International

Ashleigh Barty has posted the most significant victory of her young career by beating world number one Simona Halep at the Sydney International less than a week out from the Australian Open.

Key points:

  • Ashleigh Barty beat Simona Halep for the first time in her career
  • Barty broke Halep's serves three times in the straight-sets win
  • Halep has not won a match in five months after an injury-marred 2018

Barty, ranked 15 in the world, surged into the quarter-finals in Sydney with a 6-4, 6-4 triumph over the reigning French Open champion and 2018 Australian Open runner-up.

The Australian number one served five aces, no double faults and broke Halep three times to reverse two previous losses to the Romanian last August.

"I finally learnt my lesson," a beaming Barty said.

"She gave me a belting in Montreal. I learnt 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. I felt like it was really clean, considering the conditions.

"It was very swirly down at court level so I figure if I'm going to play Sim at any time, it's her first match and in conditions like this.

"So I was very happy I was able to make the most of it. Extremely pleased."

External Link: Australian Open tweet

While Barty marches on in pursuit of a second straight final in Sydney, Halep's defeat leaves her Australian Open preparations in tatters.

The 27-year-old has not won a match in five months after an injury-marred end to 2018 and will also be in Melbourne without a coach after parting ways with Australian mentor Darren Cahill, who can longer commit to Halep due to family reasons.

Meanwhile, Alex de Minaur has cut down the equal-tallest man in professional tennis to move into the Sydney International quarter-finals for a second straight year.

In a match suspended on Tuesday night after just one game, de Minaur returned to Ken Rosewall Arena 14 hours later to carve out a hard-earned 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) victory over towering American qualifier Reilly Opelka, who stands at 211 centimetres tall.

AAP

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