World No 1 Simona Halep beaten on return from lengthy injury lay-off

Ashleigh Barty Sydney Sydney International

They both had chances to grab a break in set number two but the result followed the serve until 3-3 when Bary netted a forehand to give the serve away, pulling it back in the very next game with a half&volley victor that gave her a lot of confidence.

"It was a great match after nearly four months (since the last one)".

Having been beaten by Halep in Montreal and Cincinnati in consecutive weeks previous year, Barty says she trusted her serve and forehand to secure the win. But I was also very close to winning. However, the Aussie's relentless play made for compelling viewing and resulted in another break of serve for her as she went on to pocket the first set.

Halep said she was pain-free but would wait to see how she pulls up on Thursday before declaring that she is over the back injury.

"The biggest thing, I believed that I could I win".

"Just very happy I was able to come out and execute". We're both out here on the same court.

"She played really well and deserved to win".

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"I dug myself into a little bit of a hole there, but I just said, "Look mate, be aggressive", Barty said.

Barty, who ended a breakthrough 2018 with a WTA title in Zhuhai and is now ranked 15, brought the momentum into the new year and is now in the quarter-finals, where she will meet either Belgian 10th seed Elise Mertens or Estonian Anett Kontaveit.

The 27-year-old Halep will be at the Australian Open next week in Melbourne without a coach after parting ways with Australian mentor Darren Cahill, who can longer commit to Halep due to family reasons.

Earlier on Wednesday, Samantha Stosur was knocked out in a two-sets-to-one loss to Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky.

"That game at 4-all, I think in the second set, I was happy to just hit my slice over and over and try and wear her down a little bit", Barty said.

Kazakh qualifier Yulia Putintseva came back from a set and a break down to beat fourth seed Sloane Stephens 3-6 7-6 (4) 6-0 in a roller-coaster second round encounter.

Veteran Italian Andreas Seppi is also through to meet top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, while fifth seeded Alex De Minaur set up an all-Australian last eight tie with Jordan Thompson.

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