No.5 seed Simona Halep won the first ever women's match under Arthur Ashe's new roof with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Lucie Safarova on Thursday afternoon.
WTA Staff

NEW YORK, NY, USA - No.5 seed Simona Halep moved safely into the third round of the US Open with a straight set win over Lucie Safarova .

In the first ever women's match under Arthur Ashe's new roof, Halep recovered from a break down in the second set to complete a 6-3, 6-4 victory.

"It was not an easy match. It was difficult. At one point I lost the rhythm a little bit because she's left handed, not easy to play against," Halep said. "I knew that she's very tough. She's fighting till the end.

"I played many times against her, and all the matches were very close. So I expected that. I'm not the happiest with my game today, but I'm really - you know, I have the good mood that I could win the match in two sets and I could finish in the important moments."

Since the start of the summer, Halep has lost only to Angelique Kerber, winning 19 matches and two titles during this period. Her latest triumph was by no means a formality, however, Safarova's inability to convert the odd purple patch into scoreboard dominance ultimately proved costly. 

Halep overcame the frustration of surrendering an early lead by reeling off three games on the trot, pocketing a see-saw opening set with a brilliant backhand winner. Her joy did not last long, the Romanian soon finding herself in something of a hole in the second set.

Yet with Safarova looking well placed to force a deciding set her hitherto secure groundstrokes went walkabout, a trio of unforced errors handing back the break in the sixth game. This swung the momentum irretrievably away from the Czech, who erred again when serving to stay in the match, her fifth double fault of the afternoon sending Halep through.

While Halep was unable to replicate her flawless first-round display against Kirsten Flipkens, offsetting her nine winners with 20 unforced errors, she will be pleased to have dodged a potential banana skin on her journey through the Flushing Meadows draw. A semifinalist 12 months ago, Halep will continue her bid for a maiden Grand Slam title against Timea Babos after she saw off Richel Hogenkamp, 6-2, 6-4.