Romanian tennis player Simona Halep, world number three, advanced on Monday in Melbourne to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open tournament, the first Grand Slam of the year, after defeating Belgian Elise Mertens, No. 16 seed, 6-4, 6- 4.Halep (28), number four seed, prevailed in one hour and 37 minutes against world number 17 (24 years), at the end of a hard-fought and high quality match.
Halep now leads Elise Mertens 3-1 in direct matches. Halep won the first two encounters, in 2018, in the round of sixteen at Roland Garros (6-2, 6-1) and in the second round in Madrid (6-0, 6-3), the Belgian prevailing in the final of 2019 in Doha, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. Mertens reached a semi-final in Melbourne in 2018, when Halep played in the final against Caroline Wozniacki.
Simona Halep, champion at Roland Garros in 2018 and at Wimbledon in 2019, secured a cheque of 525,000 Australian dollars and 430 WTA points, and in the quarterfinals she will face off the winner between Estonia's Anett Kontaveit, No. 28 seed and Polish Iga Swiatek.