Romanian Simona Halep has finished runner-up twice in Rome

Rome (AFP) - Top seed Simona Halep eased into the Italian Open third round on Wednesday with a straight sets win over home hope Jasmine Paolini.

World number two Halep came through 6-3, 6-4 against the 99th-ranked home hope on clay at Rome’s Foro Italico.

The 28-year-old Romanian, who skipped the US Open because of the coronavirus pandemic, next meets either Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska who beat American Amanda Anisimova 4-6, 7-6 (73), 6-4.

“Actually, the whole match it was a little bit difficult to get the rhythm and to get relaxed,” said Halep.

“But it’s always tough the first match of the tournament, and she didn’t play bad. She played really well.”

Former French Open winner Halep has twice finished runner-up in Rome, losing in 2017 and 2018 to Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina.