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LONDON: Former Wimbledon champion Simona Halep soared into the fourth round of the Championships on Saturday with a commanding 6-4 6-1 victory over Poland’s Magdalena Frech.

The 30-year-old Romanian, who returned to the All England Club this year for the first time since winning the grasscourt major in 2019, came into match having beaten Frech in both their previous meetings.

Despite a stiff breeze blowing across Court two, Halep started in aggressive fashion to build up a 4-0 lead and although the 92nd-ranked Frech managed to get a break of serve back, it was not enough to stop her opponent from winning the first set.

Playing her maiden third-round match at a major, Frech also cancelled out an early break at the start of the second set but Halep regained the lead immediately and celebrated with a clenched fist and repeated slaps on her thigh.

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There was no stopping the 2018 French Open winner after that as she continued to spray the court with winners and advanced to the net at every opportunity to leave Frech, who has never beaten a top-20 player, stranded.

Halep broke Frech’s serve twice more and sealed the contest in 67 minutes with her 24th winner.

“It has been a good match,” Halep said on court. “It’s always difficult to play on grass. Today with the wind it was not that easy.

“It’s always a pleasure to play at Wimbledon and I have great memories, so I’m trying just to enjoy everyday.

“It helps a lot that I could win this tournament, I have confidence but every match is difficult and every opponent is tough.”

Halep will meet either fourth-seeded Spaniard Paula Badosa or twice former champion Petra Kvitova for a place in the quarter-finals.

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