Simona Halep delivers ‘smart tennis’ to see off Coco Gauff, but ‘big challenge’ awaits at BNP Paribas Open

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Simona Halep accepts the applause

There was no birthday gift for Coco Gauff at the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday as the teenager was beaten in the second round by a clinical Simona Halep.

Two-time Grand Slam winner Halep eased to a 6-3, 6-4 victory in one hour and 16 minutes to deny Gauff a win on her 18th birthday.

The Romanian broke to love in the third game and then saved a break point in the next game as the American tried to hit back immediately. Gauff again had three break points in game eight that Halep saved before the former world No 1 sealed the set with a second break.

The second set went according to serve with no break point opportunities until game 10 with Gauff saving two match points, but it was third time lucky for Halelp as she wrapped up the win.

“I’m really pleased with the way I played,” the 24th seed, who will play compatriot Sorana Cirstea next, said. “I think I played a smart tennis.

“I just wanted to stay focused on actually what I thought before the match that I have to do, and I did it 100% right.”

Looking ahead to her clash against Cirstea Halep said: “It’s going to be a big challenge for me. It’s just another match. I’m used to play with Romanians. Of course, it’s going to be a tough one. She’s a great player.

“I’m just looking forward for the day off tomorrow, and I will think about the match after.”

The winner of the Halep-Cirstea will face either Petra Martic or Luida Samsonova. Matric upset US Open champion Emma Raducanu 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 7-5.

Another former world No 1 in Angelique Kerber also advanced as she defeated Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-1 .

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