Simona Halep erased a 2-5 deficit in the final set to overhaul Australian Alja Tomljanovic 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 on Wednesday to salvage a spot in the Australian Open third round.

The second seed looked to be in deep trouble as she trailed the No. 72 primed for an upset of the Romanian in front of local fans.

But Halep, coached by Aussie Darren Cahill, fought out of the danger zone with a stirring comeback to advance to dismiss her second straight hometown opponent of the week.”

Former champions Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams marched into the third round, both claiming straight-set victories.

Naomi OSAKA (JPN) beats Caroline GARCIA (FRA) Day 3 of the Australian Open by-Tennis Australia/ ROB PREZIOSO

Osaka who lifted the Melbourne trophy in 2019, defeated Carolina Garcia of France 6-2, 6-3 in a first-time meeting.

Williams, a seven-time champion, crushed 99th-ranked Serb Nina Stojanovic with the loss of just three games after 70 minutes.

“Today was definitely very difficult,” Osaka said. “It’s really hard against a player like her. I never know when she’s gonna swing for the ball.

“I’m happy that I was able to do it in two.”

The 39-year-old Williams improved her second-round Grand Slam record to 73-2.

“I’m still just trying to find that balance sometimes,” she said of her win. 

Serena WILLIAMS (USA) and Nina STOJANOVIC (SRB) at the net after match on Rod Laver Arena Day 3 Australian Open by:-Tennis Australia / SCOTT BARBOUR

There was no escape for Bianca Andreescu, who made a spectacular 2019 breakthrough with a US Open title then dropped off the Tour for nearly 18 months due to injury.

The match-short Canadian eighth seed lost to Taipei’s Hsieh Su-Wei 6-3, 6-2, with the seed dropping serve eight times.

Bianca ANDREESCU (CAN) at her press conference after loss to Su-wei HSIEH (TPE) Day 3 of the Australian Open Tennis Australia/ VINCE CALIGIURI

“I normally feel more excited to play with the better players because they have all the skills in the court,” Hsieh said. “You you need to find a way to get through and play your game. It’s always not easy.”

The current doubles No. 1 has now defeated eight Top 10 players in the last four seasons in singles.

Andreescu could not hide her sadness: “I’m just disappointed, I gave my all. That was the most disappointing part.

Su-wei HSIEH (TPE) celebrates winning her match against Bianca ANDREESCU (CAN) Day 3 of the Australian Open by Tennis Australia/ NATASHA MORELLO

“She played really well. I have to give credit to her. I definitely have to get back into the groove of things, and hopefully that will be sooner than later.

“Even in the tough moments, I thought I could break her a little bit, but she was on every single ball.

Fellow Canadian Rebecca Marino also exited, a 6-1, 7-5 victim of Czech Martina Vondrousova.

Marketa VONDROUSOVA (CZE) photo by Tennis Australia/ Rob Prezioso

2019 finalist Petra Kvitova was upended  6-4, 1-6, 6-1 by Romanian Sorona Cirstea.

Kvitova, who led the series 5-2 last played Cirstea at Wimbledon five years ago.

“It was quite a roller coaster, for sure. I unfortunately couldn’t take the chances to win the first set,” the ninth seeded Czech said.

Petra KVITOVA (CZE) at her press conference after she lost to Sorana CIRSTEA (ROU) during Day 3 Australian Open by Tennis Australia/ VINCE CALIGIURI

“That was really the key of the match. All the games were pretty close, with a lot of deuces. 

“She just took it. She really had a great day today.”

Main photo:- Simona HALEP (ROU) beats Ajla TOMLJANOVIC (AUS) Day 3 of the Australian Open by Tennis Australia/ JAY TOWN


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