Tennis: Reigning champion Halep stumbles into French Open round three

Halep in action against Magda Linette of Poland.
Halep in action against Magda Linette of Poland.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

PARIS (AFP) - Defending champion Simona Halep stuttered into the French Open third round, needing four match points to seal a 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 win over Poland's Magda Linette on Thursday (May 30).

Romanian third seed Halep looked in total control when 5-3 ahead in the second set, but saw three match points come and go as world number 87 Linette levelled at 5-5 before breaking again to force a decider.

Halep rediscovered her form to race into a 5-1 third-set lead, but she stumbled again at the finish line and was broken to love when serving for the match for a second time.

She finally booked a last-32 clash with either Serbia's Aleksandra Krunic or Ukrainian 27th seed Lesia Tsurenko with a break in the next game on her fourth match point.