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Halep braves falls, sore wrist to make winning Melbourne start

Melbourne, Australia: Two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep survived a couple of tumbles and a sore wrist before surging into the Australian Open second round on Tuesday.

The Romanian fourth seed recovered from a poor start to beat the big-hitting American Jennifer Brady 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 and launch her title bid.

The 2018 Roland Garros and 2019 Wimbledon champion faces British qualifier Harriet Dart next in Melbourne.

The 28-year-old Halep had her serve broken in the first game by the 49th-ranked Brady, who defeated world number one Ashleigh Barty in the build-up to the year's first Grand Slam. 

Halep, the 2018 runner-up, was uncharacteristically flustered, taking a couple of falls, tossing her racquet and complaining to her coach.

She appeared to hurt her right wrist in one fall in the first set, and had heavy strapped by a medic.

"A little bit sore but nothing dangerous at this moment," the former world number one said afterwards.

"So I will see tomorrow morning after I wake up."

With both players relentlessly pummelling from the baseline, Halep finally put a punishing first set away in 69 tough minutes, having saved three set points to force the tie-break.

The second set was far more straightforward as the 24-year-old Brady appeared to run out of gas and Halep made light of her painful wrist.

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