Two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep began her preparation for this month’s Australian Open with a 6-4 6-2 win over local qualifier Destanee Aiava in the Melbourne Summer Set 1 tournament on Wednesday.
The former world number one, who was troubled by a calf issue that forced her out of last year’s French Open, Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, showed no signs of the problem in her 78-minute stay on Rod Laver Arena.
Trailing 3-4 in the first set, Romanian Halep switched gears to take the next five games before finishing in style. She will take on compatriot Elena-Gabriela Ruse in the second round.
In the men’s ATP 250 tournament in Melbourne, Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis defeated American Marcos Giron 7-5 6-4 and will provide the opposition for Spaniard Rafa Nadal in his first Tour match since August.
Berankis broke Giron three times to take a tight opening set before sealing a comfortable victory.
Up next for the world number 104 at the Australian Open warm-up will be Nadal, who is back in action after overcom …