Simona Halep of Romania makes a backhand return to Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
Rob Griffith
January 21, 2015

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Third-seeded Simona Halep advanced to the third round of the Australian Open with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Australian Jarmila Gajdosova in a match that finished early Thursday morning.

Halep and Gajdosova didn't start their match on Rod Laver Arena until nearly midnight due to the length of the preceding five-setter in which Rafael Nadal beat American qualifier Tim Smyczek in 4 hours, 12 minutes.

The 23-year-old Halep received help from the Australian when Gajdosova double-faulted on break point in the seventh game of the second set.

Halep, who opened the season by winning the Shenzhen Open in China, was a quarterfinalist at last year's Australian Open, losing to eventual finalist Dominika Cibulkova.

The Romanian will next play American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

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