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Tennis: Wimbledon champ Halep stumps up for Australian Open win

AFP , Thursday 23 Jan 2020
Halep
File Photo: Romania's Simona Halep reacts her semi-final match against Ukraine's Elina Svitolina (Photo: Reuters)
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Simona Halep said she dreaded to think how much money she owed her coach after victory over British qualifier Harriet Dart in the Australian Open second round on Thursday.

The fourth seed pledged earlier this month to donate $200 to Australia's bushfire relief fund each time she gives her Australian coach Darren Cahill a hard time during matches.

Halep cruised the first set 6-2 against Dart, but the second set was not so easy, the Romanian kept at bay by the determined 164th-ranked Briton.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Halep slapped her thigh twice after failing to put Dart away on third match point at Rod Laver Arena.

The former number one finally sealed victory at the fourth attempt when the 23-year-old Londoner fired long, but not before aiming a few choice words at Cahill.

"He's counting this stuff so I am afraid to ask (how much she owes)," the 28-year-old Halep joked, after the 6-2, 6-4 win.

Cahill famously told Halep that she was "a disgrace on the court" at the WTA Finals in November after a poor first set.

Halep, winner at Wimbledon last year, plays Yulia Putintseva of Ukraine or American 26th seed Danielle Collins in the third round in Melbourne.

Halep conceded that she should have wrapped the match up sooner.

"It was a little bit dangerous, I lost focus a bit at the end," she said. "I like to play under pressure, it is more fun and exciting.

"But I prefer to finish the match when I can."

After winning a match in Adelaide last week, Halep tweeted that she would be donating $2,000 for berating Cahill "'only' 10 times during tonight's match".

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