Simona Halep stunned by Ashleigh Barty in Sydney second round

Prior to her Sydney International win Barty had failed to take a set off Halep in two previous attempts

"I finally learnt my lesson", a beaming Barty said.

In flawless preparation ahead of the Australian Open, World No.15 Barty dominated Halep 6-4 6-4 as the expectations of Australia's top-ranked tennis player continue to grow.

While Barty marches on in pursuit of a second straight final in Sydney, Halep's defeat leaves her Australian Open preparations in tatters. I learned a little bit more in Cincinnati, but today I knuckled down and really thought about it and really gave myself a chance. So I figured if I'm going to play Sim anytime, and it's her first match, it was now.

The defending WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai champion Ashleigh Barty has finished 2018 season on a high note and kicked off the new one in equally impressive terms, toppling the world no. 1 Simona Halep 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 27 minutes for a career-high victory.

"I was very happy I was able to make the most of it". 'The biggest thing, I believed that I could I win.

She had already accounted for another French Open victor, Jelena Ostapenko, in the opening round and had an extra gear against Halep, breaking serve twice to win the first set. "We're both on the same court and I'm just really happy I came out and executed".

But Barty was undaunted, using her signature court craft to break straight back and secure victory two games later.

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It is Putintseva's sixth career Top 10 victory, second Top 5 win following her defeat of Dominika Cibulkova en route to the 2017 St Petersburg final and second consecutive win over Stephens following an equally dramatic 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (3) triumph in the first round of Nurnberg previous year.

"She played really well and deserved to win".

"But also I was very close to winning".

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

The 2011 US Open victor took the first set 7-5 but lost the next two 6-4, 6-3 to crash out in the second round.

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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