‘I had to fight’ – Simona Halep edges epic encounter against Elena Rybakina
Two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep won a thrilling second round battle against Elena Rybakina at US Open.
The pair battled for over two hours, playing out some outstanding points in of the best matches of the tournament.
Halep trailed 3-5 in the opening set, before reeling off three conseciutive games to lead at 6-5. The Kazak duly responded by breaking back to force a tie-break. The Romanian squandered six set points, before finally claiming a marathon opener 13-11.
After both players received medical treatment, the 22-year-old bounced back to win a high-quality second set 6-4 and extended the match to a deciding set.
Halep took charge of set three, racing into a 4-1 lead. Rybakina battled hard to rescue herself from a difficult situation, but the two-time Major champion held her nerve to serve out for 6-3.
“Definitely it was a very tough match, I knew before it was going to be very difficult because I played against her before. Elena is powerful and putting pressure on the opponent. I had to be strong, calm and fight at the end because I still have a chance to win.” Halep said.
“Everyday I am building confidence, it’s difficult to not play a match for four months then play at the highest level against top players but I am enjoying playing in front of a crowd, it’s always a pleasure. I missed everyone, thank you for coming.”
Halep will face the winner of Elina Svitolina and Daria Kasatkina in round four.
“I wish to have an easier match but at this level it’s impossible, I am focussed and know every day it’s going to be a tough battle so I’m looking forward to giving my best again. I have nothing to lose, I just want to enjoy I’m in New York.” she added.
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