By Steve Keating
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fifth seed Simona Halep blasted her way into the second round of the U.S. Open on Tuesday by demolishing Kirsten Flipkens 6-0 6-2 underlining her credentials as a potential grand slam winner.
Halep, a winner of three WTA Tour events this season, including a hardcourt event in Montreal, carried her superb form into Flushing Meadows as she needed just one hour on a sun-splashed but almost vacant Arthur Ashe Stadium court to dismiss the 56th-ranked Belgian.
Flipkens, a former grand slam semi-finalist who advanced to the last 16 at the Rio Olympics, look headed to a humiliating double bagel as Halep swept through the opening 11 games.
But with Halep serving for the match Flipkens broke her Romanian opponent before thrusting her arms into the air in mock triumph.
Flipkens would then hold serve for the first time but her late bit of resistance only prolonged the inevitable as Halep closed out the rout to setting up a second-round meeting with Czech Lucie Safarova.
(Editing by Frank Pingue)