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Two-time major winner Simona Halep says she is playing the best she has for months after cruising into the 2022 Australian Open fourth round with a straight-forward win over Danka Kovinic.
Halep, who is the 14th seed after an injury-ravaged 2021, eased past the Montenegrin 6-2 6-1 on Saturday. The former world number one has dropped only 14 games on her way to clinching a spot in the second week in Melbourne.
The Romanian, who was the runner-up at the 2018 Australian Open, won the Melbourne Summer Set 1 title and is re-discovering her best form.
"(This is the best I've played in) the last months," Halep said after Saturday's win.
"I feel great physically, first of all. Mentally I'm confident and also strong, I would say.
"Feeling the game. Feeling joy out there. I think that helps me to be positive and to be confident that I have a chance every time I step on the court.
"I feel I'm in a good spot. I really trust that I can play good tennis here."
Halep will play Frenchwoman Alize Cornet in the fourth round on Monday, with the Romanian having won 11 consecutive sets.
Cornet had knocked out third seed Garbine Muguruza in the second round, while sixth seed Anett Kontaveit and US Open winner Emma Raducanu have also bowed out in Halep's quarter of the draw giving her a good shot at a deep run.
"I feel fresh. I feel that the pressure is off," Halep said. "I feel also that I have expectations from myself, but they are good expectations because I have worked a lot in the off-season.
"I have no injuries. That helps me to be in a good spot mentally and also with confidence."