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AFP
January 7, 2018

Halep bags Shenzhen title

Sports

AFP
January 7, 2018

SHENZHEN, China: World number one Simona Halep fired a warning to her Australian Open rivals on Saturday, beating Katerina Siniakova in three sets to win the Shenzhen Open.

The Romanian saw off the reigning champion from the Czech Republic 6-1, 2-6, 6-0 in 72 rollercoaster minutes in rain-hit southern China.

The 26-year-old Halep is guaranteed top seeding for the Australian Open, the season’s first Grand Slam, which begins in Melbourne on January 15.

This was her 16th WTA title but the first since reaching the top of the world rankings in October.

The match was delayed by five hours because of rain in Shenzhen and had to be moved indoors before play could begin. Halep had earlier provided a heart-warming moment when she made use of the severe rain delay by exchanging a few shots with a young boy who had been plucked from the sodden crowd.

To applause and cheers, Halep shook the boy’s hand afterwards and planted a kiss on his cheek.

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