Simona Halep vs Naomi Osaka, Australian Open R4 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R4 Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs 🇯🇵 Naomi Osaka

Simona Halep continues her quest for a maiden Grand Slam title on Monday where she faces a very tough test against Japan’s Naomi Osaka. Halep has already survived a couple of almighty scares over the last week at Melbourne Park, none more so than her epic 3 hours and 45 minutes triumph over Lauren Davis in the third round. It will be interesting to see how the world number 1 recovers from her win over Davis, this is unprecedented territory for Halep who had never previously gone past 6-6 in the third set of a Grand Slam.

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It has been a whirlwind week for Simona Halep. The world number 1 started the event with a tough 7-6 6-1 victory over Destanee Aiava, Halep suffered a severe rolled ankle in that first round match. Halep’s second round win was straightforward, an easy 6-2 6-2 win over Eugenie Bouchard. Halep secured her spot in the second week at Melbourne Park with a dramatic 4-6 6-4 15-13 victory over Lauren Davis in a match that equalled the record for most games played in a women’s match at the Australian Open. Halep was not at her best and was up against an inspired opponent, Halep showed her improved mental strength to save 3 match points and eventually outlast Davis to keep her Grand Slam dream alive in Melbourne.

Naomi Osaka has powered through the draw at Melbourne Park to reach the second week of the event for the first time in her young career. Osaka started the event with straight set wins over Kristina Kuccova and Elena Vesnina. Osaka secured her spot in the round of 16 with a very impressive 6-4 6-2 win over Ashleigh Barty. Osaka played a near flawless match to breeze past the Australian number 1, one of the better wins of Osaka’s career.

Halep has won both of the previous matches between the pair. Halep defeated Osaka 4-6 6-2 6-3 at Roland Garros in 2016 and more recently a 6-4 2-6 6-3 win in Miami in 2017.

Simona Halep vs Destanee Aiava, Australian Open R1 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R1 Preview
(1) 🇷🇴 Simona Halep vs (wc) 🇦🇺 Destanee Aiava

World number 1 and top seed: Simona Halep will begin her Australian Open campaign with an opening round clash against Australian wild card Destanee Aiava. Simona Halep arrives at Melbourne Park with the perfect preparation under her belt. Halep won the singles and doubles title in Shenzhen in week 1 and will look to finally claim a maiden Grand Slam title in two weeks’ time at the Australian Open.

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Simona Halep has not had a good time in Melbourne over the last couple of years. Halep has suffered back-to-back first round losses at the event. This could work in Halep’s favour, the Romanian has no points to defend in Melbourne and is therefore highly likely to end the tournament at number 1. Halep will head into this year’s tournament with confidence after winning the singles and double titles in Shenzhen. Halep claimed wins over Aryana Sabalenka, Irina-Camelia Begu and Katerina Siniakova amongst others to win the title in China.

Destanee Aiava booked her spot into the main draw at Melbourne Park through the wild card playoff. Aiava initially fell to Jaimee Fourlis in the under 18’s final but backed up a week later and won her way through the women’s event. Aiava has produced some poor performances in the last few weeks. Including a first round loss to Ajla Tomljanovic in Brisbane and a thrashing at the hands of Eugenie Bouchard at the Kooyong Classic

This will be the first career meeting between the pair.

Simona Halep vs Katerina Siniakova, Shenzhen Final Preview

Shenzhen Open, Final Preview
(1) 🇷🇴 Simona Halep vs (6) 🇨🇿 Katerina Siniakova

Saturday’s final at the Shenzhen open sees world number 1: Simona Halep take on defending champion: Katerina Siniakova. This will be a battle of two former champions at the event, Halep won the title in 2015. The only previous match between the pair took place in Shenzhen last year where Siniakova claimed a huge upset, beating Halep in 3 sets in the 2nd round on route to the first title of her career. 12 months later, Halep is in a much stronger position and will be a far greater challenge for Siniakova. Can Halep reverse last year’s result and win her first title of 2018 or will Siniakova successfully defend her title?

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There was a lot of pressure on Simona Halep heading into this event. After ending 2017 as the world number 1, many are waiting for Halep to falter. There have been little signs of that in Shenzhen this week as Halep has advanced to the final dropping just 1 set. Halep started the week with a commanding straight set win over Nicole Gibbs before suffering an early scare as she was forced to come from a set down to beat Ying-Ying Duan. Since then Halep’s level has improved dramatically, the world number 1 beat Aryna Sabalenka 6-2 6-2 and Irina-Camelia Begu 6-1 6-4 to book a spot in Saturday’s final.

Katerina Siniakova ended 2017 in terrible form, heading into this year’s Shenzhen Open many would have expected the Czech to struggle to get close to defending her title. However, Siniakova has come to play. The 21-year-olf did not drop a set in her opening 3 matches of the week, beating Ons Jabeur Yafan Wang and Kristyna Pliskova fairly easily. Siniakova’s biggest win came at the semi-final stage where she beat her childhood idol Maria Sharapova 6-2 3-6 6-3. Siniakova served extremely well throughout the match, effectively coming forward to end points at the net. After arguably the biggest win of her career, things will only get harder for Siniakova as she comes up against the world number 1 in the final a day later.

Katerina Siniakova took advantage of a rusty Simona Halep in their only previous meeting which was in Shenzhen last year. Siniakova claimed a hard fought 6-3 4-6 7-5 win. It later became clear that Halep was injured during January so one would suggest Halep will be a much tougher challenge for Siniakova this time around. This should an exciting final.

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Simona Halep vs Aryna Sabalenka, Shenzhen QF Preview

Shenzhen Open, Quarter-Final Preview
(1) 🇷🇴 Simona Halep vs 🇧🇾 Aryna Sabalenka

A fascinating quarter-final clash at the Shenzhen Open sees the current world number 1, Simona Halep come up against Belarussian rising-star Aryna Sabalenka. Halep fought from a set down to defeat Ying-Ying Duan and advance to the final 8 in Shenzhen, the victory also confirmed that Halep will keep her number 1 ranking and head into the Australian Open as the top seed. Halep will face a strong test on Thursday against Sabalenka, the fearless 19-year-old has powered through the draw and has the weapons to trouble the Romanian.

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Simona Halep started her 2018 season in convincing fashion, beating Nicole Gibbs 6-4 6-1. Halep faced a much tougher test in the second round where she faced Ying-Ying Duan. Halep was on the back foot as the powerful Chinese player took the opening set by a single break of serve. Halep rallied to claim a 3-6 6-1 6-2 win, showing why she is number 1 in the world. Halep will face another dangerous, powerful opponent in the next round when she comes up against Aryna Sabalenka.

Aryna Sabalenka is now on a 7 match winning streak. Sabalenka ended the 2017 season on a high by winning the Mumbai 125K tournament. Sabalenka has picked up where she left off in 2017, Sabalenka opened her season with a commanding 6-4 6-4 win over Monica Niculescu, a good effort in her first meeting with Romanian. Sabalenka backed-up that win with a commanding 6-1 6-0 demolition of Danka Kovinic. Sabalenka is full of confidence at the moment, her fearless attitude means she is a danger to anyone, even the world number 1.

This will be the first career meeting between Halep and Sabalenka. Clearly Halep is the far more established player, the world number 1 will head into this match as a strong favourite. However, Sabalenka is not to be dismissed. The Belarussian has a powerful game and she will look to ambush Halep in Shenzhen.

Simona Halep vs Ying-Ying Duan, Shenzhen R2 Preview

Shenzhen Open, R2 Preview
(1) 🇷🇴 Simona Halep vs 🇨🇳 Ying-Ying Duan

Simona Halep continues her Shenzhen Open campaign on Tuesday evening against Chinese local, Ying-Ying Duan. Halep made a positive start to the season by defeating Nicole Gibbs in straight sets, the world number 1 needs a decent result this week to ensure she remains the world number 1 heading into the first Grand Slam of the year. The winner of this match will play in-form Belarussian Aryna Sabalenka in the quarter-finals.

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Simona Halep, a former champion in Shenzhen, made a good start to her 2018 campaign by easily beating Nicole Gibbs 6-4 6-1. Halep’s level increased as the match wore on as she started to find her range. Halep will look to build on her opening round victory as looks to gain momentum before heading to Australian where she has really struggled in recent years.

Ying-Ying Duan set up a second round clash with the world number 1 by beating Evgeniya Rodina 6-2 7-5. Duan is a powerful player that can be dangerous on her day, the Chinese woman will need to bring her a-game if she is to stand any chance against Simona Halep.

The only previous match between the pair ended in a 3-6 6-3 6-2 win for Halep on grass in Eastbourne last year. That result will give Duan encouragement that she can compete with Halep but it will also mean Halep will be focused heading into this match.

Simona Halep vs Elina Svitolina, Singapore Red Group Preview

WTA Finals, 🏆🇸🇬🦁🐉🏨 Singapore Match Preview + Prediction
RR: 🔴 Red Group: (1) 🇷🇴 Simona Halep vs (4) 🇺🇦 Elina Svitolina

The Final semi-final spot in the red group will be up for grabs when world number 1, Simona Halep comes up against Elina Svitolina in Singapore on Friday evening. Caroline Wozniacki is assured of one of the spots in the semi-finals from the red group after winning her first two matches in straight sets.

Simona Halep enters this clash with a 1/1 win/loss record in the red group whilst Elina Svitolina has disappointingly lost her opening two group matches. Simona Halep’s destiny is in her own hands heading into this match, if she wins she will finish second in the group and advance to the semi-final stage, regardless of the result in the previous match between Wozniacki and Garcia.

Despite losing her first two matches, Svitolina is still a slim chance to qualify for the semi-finals, Svitolina needs to beat Halep in straight sets, but also needs Caroline Wozniacki to have beaten Caroline Garcia prior to this match, a result that seems likely. Svitolina will enter this match with some confidence given her good record against Halep, Svitolina leads the head-to-head 2-1 and held match point in the match she lost to the Romanian at Roland Garros earlier this year.

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Simona Halep vs Caroline Wozniacki, Singapore Red Group Preview

WTA Finals, 🏆🇸🇬🦁🐉🏨 Singapore Match Preview + Prediction
RR: 🔴 Red Group: (1) 🇷🇴 Simona Halep vs (6) 🇩🇰 Caroline Wozniacki

Wednesday’s action from the red group begins with an exciting encounter between Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki. Halep and Wozniacki both kicked of their Singapore campaign’s in impressive fashion on Monday with commanding straight set victories over previously troublesome opponents. The slow conditions in Singapore seemingly suit both Halep and Wozniacki very nicely, both have had previous success at the venue, this promises to be an extremely tight battle between two fairly evenly matched opponents. Wozniacki holds a 3-2 head-to-head record over Halep and has won their last two matches, however the world number 1 has proven to be a troublesome opponent for anyone in these conditions and will fancy her chances against the Dane.

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Simona Halep vs Caroline Garcia, Singapore Red Group Preview

WTA Finals, 🏆🇸🇬🦁🐉🏨 Singapore Match Preview + Prediction
RR: 🔴 Red Group: (1) 🇷🇴 Simona Halep vs (8) 🇫🇷 Caroline Garcia

World number 1, Simona Halep will kickstart proceedings in the red group on Monday evening with an intriguing clash against the in-form Caroline Garcia. These two went head-to-head just a few weeks ago, where Garcia defeated Halep in straight sets to clinch the title in Beijing. Otherwise, Halep holds a 2-1 record over the Frenchwoman. Halep is also the only player that has reached the WTA Finals in Singapore on all 4 occasions the event has been held in Singapore. Conversely, Garcia is playing in her first WTA Finals for the first time (in singles) and is an unexpected participant at the event after rocketing into the top 8 with back-to-back title wins in Wuhan and Beijing earlier this month. Who will be the first on the winners list in the red group?

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Simona Halep vs Maria Sharapova, U.S Open R1 Preview

US Open, 🇺🇸🍎🗽🚕 R1 Preview + Prediction
(2) 🇷🇴 Simona Halep vs (wc) 🇷🇺 Maria Sharapova

All eyes will be Arthur Ashe Stadium for the biggest first round clash at this year’s U.S Open as the second seeded Simona Halep takes on former champion Maria Sharapova on Monday in New York. This is an absolutely brutal draw for both players, both will relish the opportunity. The key statistic that stands out heading into this blockbuster is Maria Sharapova’s perfect 6-0 head-to-head record over the Romanian. The pair have played out some fierce contests in the past, most notably the 2014 Roland Garros final. Indeed, some of Halep’s toughest ever losses have been at the hands of Sharapova, this should be an opportunity for Simona to start to avenge those losses given Sharapova must be rusty.

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Simona Halep vs Garbine Muguruza, 🏆 Cincinnati Final Preview

Western & Southern Open, 🇺🇸🌉🏆 Cincinnati Preview + Prediction
Final: (2) 🇷🇴 Simona Halep vs (4) 🇪🇸 Garbine Muguruza

A blockbuster finale is confirmed for Sunday at the Western & Southern Open as Simona Halep comes up against Garbine Muguruza. Halep is again one win away from becoming the world number 1, however a red-hot Muguruza stands in her way. Halep and Muguruza both cruised through their semi-final matches on Saturday, both will be fresh and ready to give their all in Sunday’s final. Muguruza holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Halep, however this will be the first meeting between the pair in over 2 years and it was Halep who won their most recent match. It will be interesting to see how these two match-up against each other, in a match-up that should be seen at the business end of the biggest tournaments over the coming years.

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