Karolina Pliskova vs. Simona Halep, Shenzhen RR Preview

🇨🇳👑🐲 WTA Finals – Shenzhen RR preview
🇨🇿 (2) Karolina Pliskova vs. 🇷🇴 (5) Simona Halep

The fourth and final semi-final spot will be up for grabs at the WTA Finals Shenzhen on Friday evening as Karolina Pliskova takes on Simona Halep in the final match from the red group. The scenario is simple, the winner will finish second in the group and reach the final 4, the loser is out. It is Halep who heads into this match as the favourite given this has generally been a favourable match-up for the reigning Wimbledon champion who holds a 7-3 record over Pliskova.

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Karolina Pliskova hasn’t been too impressive thus far in Shenzhen but thanks to some good fortune she can still turn things around. Pliskova was beaten by Elina Svitolina in straight sets in her opening match before defeating Bianca Andreescu via retirement to keep her hopes of reaching the semi-finals alive.

Simona Halep has played decent tennis this week in Shenzhen, especially given her fairly limited preparation. Halep started the event with an epic 3-6 7-6 6-3 win over Bianca Andreescu from set point down in the second set. Halep couldn’t get the job done in her second match where she fell to Elina Svitolina in a tight straight set match. Despite losing to Svitolina, Halep wasn’t disgraced, Svitolina is simply the best player in the field at the moment.

Halep may hold a dominant 7-3 record over Pliskova but it is Pliskova who has won 2 of their last 3 meetings. The most recent match between the pair took place in Miami earlier this year, it was Pliskova who won 7-5 6-1. This will surprisingly be the first meeting between the pair at the WTA Finals despite both regularly featuring in the event over the last 6 years.

I’m going to side with Halep here. Halep has such a favourable record over Pliskova for a reason. This is a bad match-up for Pliskova, Halep is able to read and neutralize the Pliskova serve better than anyone, once Halep gets into a baseline battle with Pliskova she is a huge favourite. The slow, lifeless court in Shenzhen will significantly favour Halep in this match-up as she will be able to get into more baseline rallies where she can expose the weaknesses in the Pliskova game.

Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Karolina Pliskova in 2 sets

Simona Halep vs. Elina Svitolina, Shenzhen RR Preview

🇨🇳👑🐲 WTA Finals – Shenzhen RR preview
🇷🇴 (5) Simona Halep vs. 🇺🇦 (8) Elina Svitolina

Simona Halep and Elina Svitolina will reignite their rivalry when they do battle in the opening singles match on Wednesday at the WTA Finals Shenzhen. Halep and Svitolina both claimed hard-fought victories to kick-start their Shenzhen campaigns and will head into this match full of confidence. The winner of this match will be the first from the purple group to secure a spot in the semi-finals, who will it be?

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Simona Halep claimed a memorable 3-6 7-6 6-3 victory over Bianca Andreescu to begin her 6th consecutive appearance at the WTA Finals. Halep fended off match point late in the second set before running away with the match in the decider thanks to her superior toughness and stamina. It will be interesting to see how Halep recovers in time for her match with Svitolina, a match that will probably be even tougher for the reigning Wimbledon champion.

Elina Svitolina made a positive start to her title defense at the WTA Finals. The Ukrainian claimed a typically gutsy 7-6 6-4 win over Karolina Pliskova. Svitolina’s trademark toughness was on display as she edged past the big-hitting Pliskova 14-12 in the opening set tiebreak, finally converting on seventh set point before sneaking through in the tight second set. Svitolina has now won an impressive 6 consecutive matches at this event and will fancy her chances of extending that streak to 7 victories against Halep.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 4 wins apiece, this is indeed one of the most even match-ups on tour with both players possessing similar strengths and vulnerabilities. Halep has won the last couple of matches between the pair, both in 2019. Most recently Halep won 6-1 6-3 in the final 4 at Wimbledon.

This is of course a very difficult match to predict. I will give the slight edge to Svitolina. The defending champion is probably favoured by the slow, low bouncing hard courts in this match-up. This will be a total grind and that favours Svitolina. Svitolina looked sharp in her opening win over Pliskova whilst Halep was admittedly exhausted after a very tough win over Andreescu. It feels like Svitolina is in slightly better shape heading into this match as well as being slightly favoured by the conditions.

Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Simona Halep in 3 sets

Bianca Andreescu vs. Simona Halep, Shenzhen RR Preview

🇨🇳👑🐲 WTA Finals – Shenzhen RR preview
🇨🇦 (4) Bianca Andreescu vs. 🇷🇴 (5) Simona Halep

A blockbuster match-up on Monday from the WTA Finals Shenzhen sees Bianca Andreescu and Simona Halep go head-to-head for the very first time. This is an extremely exciting match-up for many, one that has been eager anticipated for a while. It will be interesting to see how the much-hyped game of Andreescu stakes up against the mighty Simona Halep.

Bianca Andreescu is the youngest and least experienced player in the draw but heads into the tournament as the favourite according to most experts. Andreescu has taken the tennis world by storm in 2019, the Canadian was recently on a stunning streak of 27 consecutive victories in completed matches, that streak was snapped in her most recent match when she was defeated by Naomi Osaka in the Beijing quarter-finals. It will be interesting to see how Andreescu performs over the next week, this is unprecedented territory for her.

Bianca Andreescu of Canada practices ahead of the 2019 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Simona Halep will be competing in the WTA Finals for the 6th consecutive season, the longest active streak of anyone on tour, a real credit to the Romanian’s consistency and toughness. However, of all the players in the draw it is Halep who probably brings the weakest form into the event. Halep hasn’t won back-to-back matches since the Rogers Cup having failed to win back-to-back matches in her last 4 events. Nevertheless, the reigning Wimbledon champion is experienced enough to flick the switch for the final tournament of the year,

I’m going to side with Halep here. This feels like a match-up where Halep has a point to prove and unlike most players on tour, I don’t think Halep will be severely troubled by the versatility of Andreescu from the baseline. Andreescu doesn’t have the outright power to totally overpower Halep so the Romanian will get herself into extended rallies where she is likely to have the edge in this match-up. A disciplined Halep can expose Andreescu physically.

Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Bianca Andreescu in 3 sets

Simona Halep vs. Su-Wei Hsieh, Eastbourne R2 Preview

Nature Valley International, Eastbourne R2
🇷🇴 (6) Simona Halep vs. 🇹🇼 Su-Wei Hsieh

Simona Halep begins her 2019 grass court campaign with a tricky second round match-up against Su-Wei Hsieh at the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne. The last time the pair met it was Hsieh who shocked Halep with a tough 3 set victory at the third round stage of Wimbledon last year. An in-form Hsieh will fancy her chances again here against a potentially rusty opponent.

Simona Halep will be back in action for the first time since her disappointing quarter-final loss to Amanda Anisimova at Roland Garros earlier this month. Grass has always been Halep’s least preferred surface but she has gradually improved on the surface over the years. Halep enters the 2019 grass court season with low expectation and little pressure on her shoulders, perhaps the perfect circumstances for the Romanian.

Su-Wei Hsieh arrives in Eastbourne fresh from winning the doubles title in Birmingham alongside Barbora Strycova. Hsieh won the doubles final in Birmingham on Sunday and was back in action on Monday in Eastbourne where she claimed a hard-fought 6-3 4-6 6-4 win over Camila Giorgi in what was a very high quality match.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. Halep required 3 sets to get past Hsieh in Cincinnati in 2013, whilst more recently Hsieh defeated Halep 3-6 6-4 7-5 at Wimbledon last year. Clearly this is a tough match-up for Halep, especially on grass.

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Simona Halep vs. Amanda Anisimova, Roland Garros QF Preview

🇫🇷🥖💶 Roland Garros, QF Preview
🇷🇴 (3) Simona Halep vs. 🇺🇸 Amanda Anisimova

Simona Halep continues her Roland Garros title defense on Wednesday with a quarter-final clash against America’s Amanda Anisimova. The gulf in experience between Halep and Anisimova is huge heading into this clash. Halep has reached the final in Paris on 3 previous occasions and of course won the title last year, whilst Anisimova entered this tournament having never won a main draw match at Roland Garros, this is the American’s second main draw appearance at the event. Thus it is Halep who enters this match as a huge favourite.

Amanda Anisimova of the United States in action during her fourth-round match at the 2019 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

This was always going to be an interesting tournament for Simona Halep, the first time she has entered a Grand Slam as a defending champion. So far so good for the Romanian. Halep started the event with a couple of hard-fought 3 set wins over Ajla Tomljanovic and Magda Linette before cruising past Lesia Tsurenko and Iga Swiatek in straight sets. Halep’s tough start to the event may well have been just what the former world number 1 needed, she has been tested and is now seemingly getting stronger and stronger.

At 17 years of age Amanda Anisimova is the first player born in this millennium to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final. Anisimova has made her way through to the final 8 in style without dropping a single set. Anisimova’s biggest win of the event was in the second round where she defeated the 11th seeded Aryna Sabalenka 6-4 6-2. The American also claimed wins over Harmony Tan and Irina-Camelia Begu in the first week. Anisimova booked her spot in a maiden Grand Slam quarter-final with a powerful 6-3 6-0 win over Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov. This has been another impressive run by the American who also reached also the round of 16 earlier this year at the Australian Open.

This will be the first career meeting between Halep and Anisimova. This match looms as the American’s biggest test of the tournament, perhaps even her entire career, how will Anisimova handle the occasion?

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Simona Halep vs. Ajla Tomljanovic, Roland Garros R1 Preview

🇫🇷🥖💶 Roland Garros, R1 Preview
🇷🇴 (3) Simona Halep vs. 🇦🇺 Ajla Tomljanovic

Simona Halep begins her title defense in Paris with a tricky opening round match-up against Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic. Halep finally broke through to claim her first major title in Paris 12 months ago in what was her fourth Grand Slam final. It will be interesting to see how Halep handles herself as the defending champion at a major for the first time, a task others have found difficult in recent times.

Simona Halep of Romania during practice at the 2019 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Simona Halep enters the second Grand Slam of the year as the outright favourite but there are several questions marks surrounding the Romanian’s campaign. Halep has been the most consistent performer in Paris over the last few years, Halep has reached the final in 3 of the last 5 years at Roland Garros, clearly this is her most successful major tournament. However, Halep does arrive in Paris on the back of a surprise opening round loss to Marketa Vondrousova in Rome where she received treatment on court. Furthermore, we will have to wait and see how Halep deals with the pressure of being the defending champion, a feeling she has not experienced at a Grand Slam.

Ajla Tomljanovic has performed well enough in 2019, consistently playing good tennis but is in need of a big breakthrough run at a major. Tomljanovic arrives in Paris fresh from a second round exit in Nuremburg where she was upset by Tamara Zidansek in straight sets. Tomljanovic has competed in a lot tournaments during the clay swing, her best result was a semi-final showing in Rabat. Unlike Halep, Tomljanovic is very much match-hardened for this first round clash.

The only previous meeting between the pair took place in Cincinnati last year, Halep won that match 4-6 6-3 6-3. Halep can expect another tough battle here, Tomljanovic is unlikely to be a pushover and will even fancy her chances of a claiming a big upset win, can the Aussie pull off an early surprise?

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Simona Halep vs. Karolina Pliskova, Miami SF Preview

🇺🇸🐬 Miami Open, SF #2 Preview
🇷🇴 (2) Simona Halep vs. 🇨🇿 (5) Karolina Pliskova

Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova will renew hostilities when they do battle on Thursday evening with a spot in the Miami Open final up for grabs. Halep and Pliskova are familiar foes, this will be the 10th career meeting between the two former world number 1’s. Halep has been fairly dominant in this match-up in recent times and looks set to continue that dominance in Miami.

Simona Halep of Romania in action during her quarter-final match at the 2019 Miami Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Simona Halep is just 1 victory away from recapturing the world number 1 ranking and reaching her first Miami final. Halep’s form has generally been good over the last few months, the only thing missing is a title, that should change over the next few days. Halep started her Miami campaign with a commanding straight set win over Taylor Townsend before battling past Polona Hercog 6-7 7-6 6-2 in what was her biggest test of the event so far. Halep booked her spot in the final 4 with straight set wins over Venus Williams and Qiang Wang.

Karolina Pliskova is through to yet another Miami semi-final. Pliskova hasn’t always done things the easy way on route to the final 4. Pliskova started the event with a fairly comfortable straight set win over Petra Martic before coming from a set down to defeat Alize Cornet and Yulia Putintseva. Pliskova produced a far more consistent performance to secure her semi-final spot as she defeated Marketa Vondrousova 6-3 6-4.

Halep holds a 7-2 head-to-head record over Pliskova. Halep has won 4 of the last 5 matches between the pair including a 6-4 5-7 6-4 victory in their most recent match during a Fed Cup tie earlier this year. Halep holds an overall 6-1 record over Pliskova on hard courts.

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Simona Halep vs. Marketa Vondrousova, Indian Wells R4 Preview

🇺🇸🌵 BNPPO19, Indian Wells – R4 Preview
🇷🇴 (2) Simona Halep vs. 🇨🇿 Marketa Vondrousova

Simona Halep continues her BNP Paribas Open campaign on Tuesday with a fourth round clash against Marketa Vondrousova. The world number 2 has made a good start to the tournament as she attempts to win her second Indian Wells title having gone all the way in 2015.

Simona Halep of Romania in action during her third-round match at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Halep has come through two reasonably tough matches in straight sets to reach the fourth round in Indian Wells. Halep started the tournament with a competitive 6-2 6-4 win over Barbora Strycova after receiving a bye through the first round. Halep confirmed her place in the fourth round with a hard-fought 7-6 7-5 win over Kateryna Kozlova, Halep was made to work especially hard in this match, perhaps the test she needed as she heads into the business end of the tournament.

Marketa Vondrousova continues to rise up the WTA standings. Vondrousova has defeated 3 tricky opponents on route to the fourth round in Indian Wells. Vondrousova started the event with a 6-4 7-6 win over Laura Siegemund before upsetting last year’s runner up: Daria Kasatkina 6-2 6-1. Vondrousova’s toughest test came against Jelena Ostapenko in the third round, Vondrousova overcame several deficits to ultimately claim a 4-6 6-3 6-4 victory.

This will be the first career meeting between Halep and Vondrousova. Can the young Czech cause the world number 2 any real problems?

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Simona Halep vs. Belinda Bencic, Dubai QF Preview

🇦🇪🐪 Dubai DFTC – QF Preview
🇷🇴 (3) Simona Halep vs. 🇨🇭 Belinda Bencic

Simona Halep continues her Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships campaign on Thursday evening with a quarter-final showdown against Belinda Bencic. Halep has done well to quickly recover from playing in the Doha final on Saturday and thus far has conserved energy well in Dubai given she is yet to drop a set.

Halep has done well to come through a couple of tight matches in straight sets to reach the quarter-final stage in Dubai. The 2015 Dubai champion started the event with a hard-fought 7-6 6-4 win over Eugenie Bouchard before battling past Lesia Tsurenko 6-3 7-5. Importantly, Halep has been able to raise her game at the business end of each set this tournament, that was on full display in the second set against Tsurenko where Halep won the last 12 points of the match, a good sign that Halep is feeling really confident at the moment.

Belinda Bencic is through to her first premier level quarter-final since Connecticut last year. Bencic started her Dubai campaign with a 6-4 7-6 win over Lucie Hradecka before cruising past Stefanie Voegele 6-1 6-1. Bencic’s best win of the tournament and indeed her best win of the year came at the third round stage where she saved match points in an epic 6-4 2-6 7-6 victory against Aryna Sabalenka.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. It has been a while since these two have gone head-to-head, their most recent match was back in 2015 in the Toronto final where Bencic won in 3 sets via retirement. Halep won their only completed match 6-4 6-1 at Wimbledon in 2014.

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Simona Halep vs. Lesia Tsurenko, Dubai R3 Preview

🇦🇪🐪 Dubai DFTC – R3 Preview
🇷🇴 (3) Simona Halep vs. 🇺🇦 Lesia Tsurenko

Simona Halep continues her Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships campaign on Wednesday with a third round meeting against the Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko. Halep and Tsurenko played just last week in Doha where Halep claimed a comfortable win in straight sets, will we see a similar result here?

Simona Halep of Romania in action during her second-round match at the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Halep is starting to find her feet in 2019, the former world number 1 and reigning Roland Garros champion arrived in Dubai on the back of a solid run to the final in Doha last week and made a good start to her Dubai campaign yesterday. Halep received an opening round bye in Dubai before battling past Eugenie Bouchard 7-6 6-4 in a high quality encounter.

Lesia Tsurenko has won contrasting matches on route to the third round in Dubai. Tsurenko easily defeated Yulia Putintseva in the opening round where the Kazakh retired early in the second set. Tsurenko battled through her second round match where she outlasted Lin Zhu 6-4 6-7 6-3 in just under 2 and a half hours.

Halep holds a perfect 6-0 record over Tsurenko and has been completely untroubled in this match-up of late. Halep defeated Tsurenko 6-4 6-1 in Cincinnati last year, whilst just last week Halep claimed a 6-2 6-3 win over the Ukrainian in Doha. Halep has never dropped a set to Tsurenko on a hard court.

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