Simona Halep starts French Open defence with battling win over Alja Tomljanovic

Simona Halep blows kiss after win PA

Defending champion Simona Halep is safely into the second round of the French Open, but she was made to work for it by Alja Tomljanovic.

The more heavily fancied WTA stars have not had it their own way at Roland Garros so far this year, with Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber already out and Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka coming through almighty first-round scares.

Halep, by comparison, was solid, although she did drop the second set before eventually coming out on top 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.

However, Halep was keen to praise her opponent for that mid-match wobble than look at herself.

“The level was great, and actually her level in the second set was really high,” Halep said.

“So I had to be focused more on myself to find out what I have to play better in the third set to be able to win.

“And then I just started to feel that if I make her move, it’s a little bit better for me, so I did that.

“Of course it was not easy because of the emotions, the pressure, but it’s always nice to go back on that court.”

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