Cincinnati, OH, USA, 18 August 2018 | Reuters/Tennis Australia

Australian No.1 Ashleigh Barty was knocked out of the Cincinnati Open by Simona Halep but she made the world No.1 work for her place in quarterfinals.

The 7-5 6-4 victory was the seventh consecutive win for Romanian Halep, who won last week’s Coupe Rogers in Montreal, where she beat Barty in the semifinals.

“It was very tricky, and she’s a tough opponent because she’s mixing the rhythm,” said Halep.

“I’m really happy I can go through this, and tonight I’ll have another match.”

Because of the tournament’s many weather delays, Halep will be back on the court later on Friday to play Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko in the quarterfinals.

“I feel like she missed more than me today,” Halep said of Barty.

“When I started to play more on the backhand and make her move, it was better for me.”

The Australian pushed Halep a lot harder this time around, with match lasting 90 minutes compared to 70 in Montreal.

The Romanian rallied from a break down in the first set, as Barty won three of the first four games.

Halep then won the last three games after holding at love when she served to stay in the set.

Halep also lost the first two games of the second set, as number 16 seed Barty led by an early break, but the Romanian won four straight games to take control of the match.

Still Barty fought back and had a break point in the final game that would have levelled the score at 5-5, but Halep sealed victory with a backhand winner.