No. 1 Simona Halep ignores injury, beats Eugenie Bouchard in Australian Open
All eyes were on the left ankle of No. 1 seed Simona Halep in the second round of the Australian Open after an injury scare in her first-round victory.
The WTA's top-ranked player passed all tests with flying colors, cruising to a 6-2, 6-2 win over Eugenie Bouchard at Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne.
Halep left fans gasping in concern after rolling her ankle during her first-round win over Destanee Ajava, and even Halep admitted after beating Bouchard that she was worried entering the match.
"I was scared," Halep said. "But the doctor said that I was lucky. After that picture, I was lucky that everything is pretty okay."
Any hope for Bouchard, the 2014 Wimbledon finalist who has never quite recaptured that magic, was extinguished early when Halep served notice that her ankle would not hurt her game. With the score 1-1 at 15-all in the first set, Halep looked crisp during a fiery 20-shot rally that ended with her forehand winner.
Halep admitted after the match that she still was "not 100 percent" and that the ankle remains a concern.
"Well, I still feel pain," said the Romanian. "Also I couldn't practice much. But during the match, I just forgot about it. I had a very tight tape. I could move. Even if I am a little bit injured, I played very well and I moved very well. I played much better than I expected."
Although Bouchard, the last Canadian man or woman at this year's tournament, broke Halep's serve twice in the first set, Halep never appeared threatened as she dominated on defense against Bouchard -- who held serve only once the entire match.
In other late second-round action, Japan's Naomi Osaka knocked off No. 16 Elena Vesnina of Russia 7-6, 6-2 while No. 18 seed Ashleigh Barty of Great Britain rallied after losing the first set to move on to the third round, defeating Italy's Camila Giorgi 5-7, 6-4, 6-1.