Halep battles through rain-interrupted Rogers Cup opener

World number one Simona Halep returned to action in Canada, but she was made to work for her win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Simona Halep   -  Getty Images

Simona Halep scraped through her opening match at the Rogers Cup with a 7-6 (11-9), 4-6, 7-5 win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Playing for the first time since her disappointing third-round defeat at Wimbledon, the world number one came through a gruelling second-round test that was initially halted by rain on Wednesday.

Pavlyuchenkova repeatedly threatened an upset when the match restarted and was on the brink of victory when she was a break up in the third set, but Halep defiantly fought back to clinch victory.

Starting play with Halep 4-3 down, the Romanian deservedly broke in front after a couple of comfortable holds, but was swiftly pegged back, Pavlyuchenkova preying on second serves with strong returns.

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The Russian looked to have seized the initiative in the consequent tie-break, but a double fault proved the first in a series of squandered set points before, finally, Pavlyuchenkova thrashed a pair of shots wide to fall behind.

The second began with a series of scintillating rallies, but it was Pavlyuchenkova who broke in front when Halep, having rescued two of three break points, double faulted.

Although Pavlyuchenkova struck early in the third, a brilliant piece of defensive work allowed Halep to move onto the front foot and capitalise on a break point to level.

The momentum turned at that stage and Halep charged on, belatedly seeing off the Russian's brave challenge to scrape through to the next stage, where Venus Williams awaits.

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