Defending champion Halep recovers from dip to oust Tomljanovic

Ajla Tomljanovic had her moments but Simona Halep's class shone through in a three-set first-round win at the French Open.

Simona Halep in action at Roland Garros   -  Getty Images

Simona Halep recovered from a second-set dip to start her French Open defence with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 triumph over Ajla Tomljanovic.

The third seed made her major breakthrough at Roland Garros 12 months ago and breezed through the first set in half an hour on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

However, a combination of Tomljanovic finding her range and a dip in Halep's own performance meant a decider was required.

Halep – without a title this season – regained the initiative, though, and waltzed through a one-sided final set to confirm a round-two meeting with Magda Linette.

Read: Osaka narrowly avoids catastrophic Roland Garros shock

The Romanian had Tomljanovic on the back foot from the off and a double fault followed by a long forehand handed Halep the first break.

Tomljanovic saw a couple of break-point chances of her own go begging, but from there the set was one-way traffic with Halep's impeccable timing leaving her opponent few chances.

A thumping forehand meant Tomljanovic was struggling at 0-30 in game eight and an errant backhand ceded another break and the set.

Halep's fist was pumping again after a beautifully timed volley early in set two, but the momentum swung dramatically in Tomljanovic's favour.

The Australian's powerful forehand began to land more frequently, while Halep's error count rose significantly as she dropped serve three times to take the match into a decider.

Perhaps stunned from her slumber, Halep made a lightning start to the third set – racing into a 3-0 double-break lead, the second sealed with a pin-point forehand.

There was no way back when Tomljanovic was broken for a third time and, although she avoided the bagel by earning a break of her own, a series of punishing forehands saw Halep convert her first match point.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Simona Halep [3] bt Ajla Tomljanovic 6-2 3-6 6-1

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Halep - 19/22
Tomljanovic - 19/30

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Halep - 3/3
Tomljanovic - 1/5

BREAK POINTS WON
Halep - 7/10
Tomljanovic - 4/10

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Halep - 71
Tomljanovic - 57

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Halep - 57/52
Tomljanovic - 52/43

TOTAL POINTS
Halep - 81
Tomljanovic - 69