Halep advances to 3rd round at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Third-seeded Simona Halep advanced to the third round of the Australian Open with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Australian Jarmila Gajdosova in a match that finished early Thursday morning.

Halep and Gajdosova didn’t start their match on Rod Laver Arena until nearly midnight due to the length of the preceding five-setter in which Rafael Nadal beat American qualifier Tim Smyczek in 4 hours, 12 minutes.

The 23-year-old Halep received help from the Australian when Gajdosova double-faulted on break point in the seventh game of the second set.

Halep, who opened the season by winning the Shenzhen Open in China, was a quarterfinalist at last year’s Australian Open, losing to eventual finalist Dominika Cibulkova.

The Romanian will next play American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.