??? Roland Garros, R4 preview + prediction: ?? (1) Simona Halep vs. ?? Iga Swiatek
Simona Halep and Iga Swiatek will meet at the round of 16 stage at Roland Garros for the second year in a row. Halep thrashed Swiatek 6-1 6-0 in 2019 and will be a strong favourite to claim another commanding when they meet again 12 months later in Paris. Halep is the form player on tour, whilst Swiatek is a player on the rise, an interesting match-up, has Swiatek improved enough to pull off the upset?
Simona Halep has won 17 matches in a row. The top seed stormed through the opening week in Paris without dropping a set, a 6-4 6-0 win over Sara Sorribes Tormo, followed by a 6-3 6-4 win over Irina-Camelia Begu eased Halep into the tournament. The reigning Wimbledon champion produced an extremely impressive performance to secure her spot in the round of 16 when she smashed Amanda Anisimova 6-0 6-1 in less than hour, avenging her shock loss to the American at the quarter-final stage of last year’s event.
Iga Swiatek is into the round of 16 at a major for the third time, a promising record for the 19-year-old. Swiatek also cruised through the first week in Paris without dropping a set. The Pole started the tournament with a 6-1 6-2 win over the 15th seeded Marketa Vondrousova before beating Su-Wei Hsieh 6-1 6-4. Swiatek booked a rematch with Halep thanks to a commanding 6-3 6-2 win over Eugenie Bouchard. Clay is the Pole’s preferred surface, a surface she will win many matches on over the next decade.
The only previous match between the pair was Halep’s 6-1 6-0 victory at Roland Garros last year.
I’m going to side with Halep here. Halep absolutely overwhelmed Swiatek 12 months ago in Paris and heads into this match in top form. Swiatek has undoubtedly improved over the last 12 months, but not enough to seriously challenge the top seed when they meet again on Sunday. Swiatek doesn’t have the power to consistently hit through Halep and she doesn’t have the consistency or stamina to outlast the Romanian from the baseline. Halep is too solid at the moment.
Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Iga Swiatek in 2 sets
??? Roland Garros, R2 preview + prediction: ?? (1) Simona Halep vs. ?? Irina-Camelia Begu
Simona Halep continues her quest for a second Roland Garros title on Day 4 when she faces a familiar foe in the second round. The top seeded Halep faces countrywoman Irina-Camelia Begu, an opponent she holds a dominant 7-0 head-to-head record against. Halep is superb form at the moment and is a big favourite to continue her winnings ways in this match-up.
Halep made a strong start to her 2020 Roland Garros campaign when she cruised past Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-4 6-0. Halep faced an early deficit in her match with the Spaniard when she trailed 2-4 in the opening set but really stepped it up as she won 10 consecutive games to claim her 15th victory in a row. Halep is the form player on tour on clay and has the best record of any player at Roland Garros over the last 6 years, a runner-up in 2014 and 2017, the champion in 2018 and a quarter-finalist in 2019.
Begu moved her way into the second round in Paris with a hard-fought 6/4 4/6 6/3 victory over Jill Teichmann. Roland Garros has been Begu’s most successful major by far, the Romanian has reached at least the third round stage at Roland Garros in 4 of the last 5 years but will need to produce a miracle performance is she is to reach the round of 32 in 2020.
Begu has only managed to take 1 set off Halep in their 7 previous meetings. The most recent meeting between the pair took place at the semi-final stage in Prague a few months ago, Halep won 7/6 6/3. It was in Madrid 2016 that Begu managed to take a set off Halep in a strange 6/3 0/6 6/1 win for Halep.
All signs point to an easy Halep victory here. Halep’s dominant record over Begu, coupled with her strong form and high level of confidence at a tournament she thrives at all spell big trouble for Begu. Halep is too solid in this match-up, Begu doesn’t have the weapons to consistently hurt Halep and she doesn’t have the consistency or stamina to outlast Halep from the baseline.
Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Irina-Camelia Begu in 2 sets
??? Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome FINAL preview + prediction ?? (1) Simona Halep vs. ?? (2) Karolina Pliskova
Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova will renew their rivalry when they meet for the 12th time with the Internazionali BNL d’Italia title up for grabs. Karolina Pliskova will be aiming to successfully defend her title in Rome whilst Halep will be hoping it’s third time lucky as she aims to win her first title in Rome on her third attempt in the championships match. A blockbuster match-up between the top seeds and a pair of former world number 1’s.
Simona Halep survived a strong challenge from Garbine Muguruza to secure her spot in the final. The Romanian secured a hard-fought 6-3 4-6 6-4 victory over the Spaniard in what was by far her biggest test of the tournament. Halep moved through the earlier stages with straight set wins over Jasmine Paolini and Dayana Yastremska as well as a win via retirement over Yulia Putintseva. Halep has now won 13 matches in a row and will playing to win her third consecutive title.
Karolina Pliskova started her title defense in Rome with a couple of straight set wins over Barbora Strycova and Anna Blinkova. Pliskova faced her biggest test at the quarter-final stage where she defeated the 11th seeded Elise Mertens 6-3 3-6 6-0. The second seed secured her spot in Monday’s championship match with a 6-2 6-4 victory over Marketa Vondrousova. Halep holds a 7-4 head-to-head record over Pliskova. However, Pliskova has won 3 of the last 4 meetings between the pair, including a 6-0 2-6 6-4 victory in their most recent clash at the WTA Finals Shenzhen last year.
This has historically been a great match-up for Halep, I believe this to be true despite Pliskova’s recent success over the Romanian. Halep reads the Pliskova serve better than most, once Halep neutralizes the powerful first strikes of Pliskova it is Halep who has the distinct advantage from the baseline, especially on a clay court. Halep withstood a very strong challenge from Muguruza in the previous round, a challenge that will leave her primed for this final. Halep is in great form at the moment, likes this match-up and likes the conditions.
Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Karolina Pliskova in 2 sets
??? Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome SF preview + prediction ?? (1) Simona Halep vs. ?? (9) Garbine Muguruza
Sunday’s first semi-final at the Foro Italico sees a pair of 2-time major champions go head-to-head as the top seeded Simona Halep takes on the 9th seeded Garbine Muguruza. Halep will be aiming to reach her third final in Rome as she seeks a third consecutive title and her first at the Foro Italico. Muguruza will be aiming to reach her first final in Rome as she seeks her first title since Monterrey early last year. This promises to be a quality clash between two players on top of their games, two of the best clay court performers on the WTA Tour.
Simona Halep has eased into a 5th semi-final in Rome without dropping a set. Halep claimed a 6-3 6-4 win over Jasmine Paolini to kick-start her campaign before defeating Dayana Yastremska 7-5 6-4. The reigning Wimbledon champion secured her spot in the final 4 when Yulia Putintseva retired down 2-6 0-2 in their quarter-final clash. Halep is now on a 12-match winning streak and holds an impressive 18-2 win/loss record in 2020, one of those losses came to Muguruza.
Garbine Muguruza has powered through a tough draw in Rome to reach the semi-final stage for the third time. The Spaniard started the week with a 6-3 6-3 win over Sloane Stephens before defeating Cori Gauff 7-6 3-6 6-3. Muguruza eliminated the 7th seeded Johanna Konta with a 6-4 6-1 triumph before fighting from a set and a break down to defeat a red-hot Victoria Azarenka 3-6 6-3 6-4. Muguruza has a 21-5 win/loss record in 2020.
Muguruza holds a 4-2 head-to-head record over Halep. All 4 of Muguruza’s victories came on a hard court, including a 7-6 7-5 victory at the semi-final stage of the Australian Open earlier this year in what was their most recent encounter. Their most recent match on a clay court took place at the semi-final stage of Roland Garros in 2018, Halep won 6-1 6-4.
I’m going to side with Halep here. Importantly it is Halep who has won both of the previous meetings between the pair on a clay court, including a comfortable win at Roland Garros a few years ago. Halep is able to deal with the Spaniard’s power much more efficiently on a clay court, she has more time and has a greater chance to pass Muguruza when she moves up the court in this surface. Halep is in great shape heading into this match having barely played any tennis this week, Muguruza has played some tough matches and couldn’t possibly be in peak condition. Expect Halep to be too strong.
Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Garbine Muguruza in 2 sets
The first quarter-final of the day at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia sees the top seeded Simona Halep take on an in-form Yulia Putintseva. Both players bring a heap of confidence into this match, Halep is on an 11-match winning streak whilst Putintseva is arguably in career best form.
Halep is easing her way into the tournament in Rome, a clear favourite to win the title heading into the business end of the event. Halep started the week with a 6-3 6-4 win over Jasmine Paolini before navigating her way past the dangerous Dayana Yastremska with a 7-5 6-4 victory. Halep is a two-time runner-up in Rome and will be keen to go one step better in 2020. The signs are good, the reigning Wimbledon champion is in great shape in all departments.
Putintseva arrived in Rome fresh from a quarter-final showing at the US Open. The 25-year-old has come through a couple of epic matches to reach the final 8 in Rome. The Kazakh started the event with an easy enough 6-2 6-4 win over Rebecca Peterson, then things got a complicated. A 6-3 6-7 6-4 win over the 8th seeded Petra Martic was followed by a 4-6 7-6 6-2 win over Elena Rybakina, Putintseva was down a set and 1-4 in her match with Rybakina before completing a memorable comeback.
The only previous meeting between the pair took place at the Australian Open earlier this year, Halep won 6-1 6-4.
I expect Halep to win this match comfortably. Firstly, this is a great match-up for Halep, Putintseva doesn’t have the weapons to hurt Halep, whilst Halep has the stamina to outlast Putintseva from the back of the court. There is no way through for Putintseva. Furthermore, Putintseva is coming off a pair of draining battles, she is surely running on empty having also just arrived in Europe after her deep run at the US Open. Meanwhile Halep is fresh and firing. Everything is in Halep’s favour.
Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Yulia Putintseva in 2 sets
Simona Halep continues her 2020 Internazionali BNL d’Italia campaign on Friday with a potentially dangerous third round clash against Dayana Yastremska. This will be the first career meeting between the pair, a match-up of contrasting styles, can the flashy Ukrainian get the better of the 2-time runner-up in Rome?
Simona Halep is on a 10-match winning streak. The world number 2 won the premier-level title in Dubai just before the tour shutdown and won the Prague Open in her return to action last month. The reigning Wimbledon champion made a solid start in Rome with a 6-3 6-4 win over Jasmine Paolini having received a bye in the opening round. Halep is the top seed and favourite to go on to win the title in Rome this week.
Halep has surprisingly never won the Internazionali BNL d’Italia and will be keen to change that over the coming days. Halep twice reached the championship match in Rome, in 2017 and 2018, on both occasions she was defeated by Elina Svitolina. Halep has also reached the semi-finals in Rome on a couple of other occasions, in 2013 and 2015.
Dayana Yastremska has come through a pair of roller-coaster matches to reach the third round in Rome. A 7-5 6-7 6-4 win over Camila Giorgi was followed by a 4-6 7-6 6-4 win over Amanda Anisimova. Yastremska has already been involved 6 tight three 3 matches in her 4 tournaments since the tour restart.
I expect Halep to come through this one quite comfortably. Yastremska is dangerous but far too inconsistent to have much of a hope against Halep on a clay court. Yastremska’s level has swung wildly in recent times, from match-to-match and within matches, a far more consistent effort is required against Halep. The Romanian is one a select few players on the WTA tour that consistently achieves great results on clay. Expect the far superior consistency, discipline and stamina of Halep to see her through this one.
Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Dayana Yastremska in 2 sets
??⬛ Prague Open – Final Preview + Prediction ?? (1) Simona Halep vs. ?? (3) Elise Mertens
A blockbuster final at the 2020 Prague Open sees the top seeded Simona Halep come up against the third seeded Elise Mertens. Halep has won 3 of the 4 previous meetings between the pair and enters this clash as a strong favourite.
It has been a difficult week for Halep in her return to competitive action. The world number 2 required 3 tough sets to get the better of Polona Hercog and Barbora Krejcikova in her first few matches of the event. Halep cruised past Magdalena Frech 6-2 6-0 in the quarterfinals before booking her spot in the final with a hard-fought 7-6 6-3 win over Irina-Camelia Begu.
Mertens has also come through a couple of tough matches to reach the final in Prague. The Belgian required 3 sets to get the better of Jasmine Paolini and Eugenie Bouchard, in between those wins she defeated Camila Giorgi in straight sets. Mertens secured her spot in the championship match with a 7-5 7-6 win over Kristyna Pliskova. A good week for Mertens given her disappointing opening round exit last week in Palermo.
Halep holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Mertens. Importantly Halep has won both of the previous matches between the pair on a clay court, very comfortably, both in 2018, a 6-0 6-3 win in Madrid followed by a 6-2 6-1 win at Roland Garros. Halep also won the most recent meeting between the pair at the Australian Open earlier this year, a 6-4 6-4 victory.
I’m going to side with Halep here. Halep’s strong record against Mertens in their previous clay court meetings can’t be ignored. Halep and Mertens have similar strengths but Halep simply does most things a little better, which is especially true on a clay court. In a match-up where both players move extremely well and are very consistent from the back of the court, it is Halep who has heavier shots and more margin to her game, which will see her win the majority of the extended rallies, of which there will be many.
Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Elise Mertens in 2 sets
??⬛ Prague Open – R2 Preview + Prediction ?? (1) Simona Halep vs. ?? Barbora Krejcikova
Simona Halep will be back in action on Thursday at the Prague Open when she takes on local wild card Barbora Krejcikova in the second round. The Romanian survived a big scare in the opening round and will be aiming for a more straightforward victory on this occasion.
Halep was pushed to her limits by Polona Hercog in the opening round in Prague. Halep required 7 match points to eventually claim a hard-fought 6/1 1/6 7/6 win. Meanwhile, Krejcikova booked her spot in the second round in Prague with a solid 6/4 6/3 win over Patricia Maria Tig.
This will be the first career meeting between the pair.
I expect Halep to produce a more assertive performance than in her first-round match. I think Halep will benefit from her tough opening round match and improve throughout the week. Krejcikova is a doubles specialist at heart, she is unlikely to have the consistency or stamina to stick with Halep on a clay court. A comfortable win for Halep is likely.
Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Barbora Krejcikova in 2 sets
?? Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Final Preview ?? (1) Simona Halep vs. ?? Elena Rybakina
The final of the 2020 Dubai Duty Free Tennis championships promises to be an exciting one when the top seeded Simona Halep takes on a red-hot Elena Rybakina. Halep will enter this match as the favourite but is unlikely to have things all her own way against a player that has already won 19 matches in 2020. Will Halep win her first tile since capturing her second major at Wimbledon last year?
Simona Halep made a shaky start to her 2020 Dubai campaign but has improved her level in every single match. The reigning Wimbledon champion made an especially slow start in her opening round match against Ons Jabeur but rallied to save match point on route to a 1-6 6-2 7-6 win. The top seed was again forced to come from behind in the quarter-finals where she avenged her loss to Aryna Sabalenka in Adelaide with a 3-6 6-2 6-2 win. Halep produced her most commanding performance at the semi-final stage with a dominant 6-2 6-0 win over an in-form Jennifer Brady.
Elena Rybakina is through to her fourth final of 2020, more than anyone else on tour. This is the second time Rybakina has reached back-to-back finals in 2020, the first time she was able to win the title in her second final, can she do it again in Dubai? Rybakina has been in fine form this week, the Kazakh started the week with a 3 set win over the 5th seeded Sofia Kenin before cruising past Katerina Siniakova in straight sets. Rybakina made another big move in the quarter-finals where she upset the second seeded Karolina Pliskova 7-6 6-3 before booking her spot in the championship match with a hard-fought 7-6 7-6 win over Petra Martic, Rybakina fought from a break down in each set in her win over Martic.
I’m going to side with Halep here. Rybakina is yet to consistently prove herself against top level counter-punchers. This is arguably Rybakina’s biggest test of the year thus far, I think it will to be a troublesome match-up for the 20-year-old. Halep is getting stronger and stronger and seemingly enters this final in perfect shape. Rybakina has played a heap of tennis over the last few weeks which is a concern coming up against one of the most physical opponents on tour. The relentless pressure from Halep thanks to her consistency and stamina will be too much for Rybakina to handle.
Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Elena Rybakina in 2 sets
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?? Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, SF Preview ?? (1) Simon Halep vs. ?? (Q) Jennifer Brady
Simona Halep continues her quest for a second Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title when she comes up against Jennifer Brady in Friday’s second semi-final. Halep and Brady have both come through some extremely tight matches to get through to the final 4 in Dubai, both have been forced to fight from a set down in their two previous matches. Halep defeated Brady earlier this year in Melbourne, can the Romanian repeat that result in Dubai?
Simona Halep is building into some top form in Dubai. Halep came through a big scare in her opening round match where she saved a match point in a dramatic final set tiebreak to defeat Ons Jabeur 1-6 6-2 7-6. Halep was again overpowered in the early exchanges of her quarter-final clash with Aryna Sabalenka but raised her level to claim an important 3-6 6-2 6-2 victory. Halep was striking the ball fantastically in the final set against Sabalenka, if she can continue that form she will win the title this week.
Jennifer Brady is into her first semi-final at a premier level event. Brady has done it the hard way having come through qualifying. Brady eased through the qualifying draw without dropping a set with wins over Kristyna Pliskova, Gabriela Dabrowski and Su-Wei Hsieh, before starting her main draw campaign with a 6-2 6-1 thrashing of the third seeded Elina Svitolina. Brady made a great escape in her second round match, coming from a set and 1-4 down to defeat Marketa Vondrousova. The American continued to ride her luck in the quarter-finals, where she against fought from behind to defeat Garbine Muguruza 6-7 6-3 6-4.
Halep has won both of her previous matches against Brady. Halep needed 3 tight sets to get past the American when they first squared off last year at the Rogers Cup, a 4-6 7-5 7-6 win for Halep on that occasion. More recently Halep claimed a 7-6 6-1 victory over Brady at the opening round stage of the Australian Open last month.
I’m going to confidently side with Halep here. Halep was able to beat Brady in straight sets at the Australian Open despite most factors favouring Brady heading into that match. On that occasion it was Brady who was in better form and had a better rhythm coming into the match. Halep still overcame a slow start in Melbourne to win that match. On this occasion, Halep has her rhythm having coming through some tough battles over the last few days. Conversely, Brady is surely going to be fatigued having already played 6 matches this week. Halep loves playing in Dubai where the courts suit her and the crowd loves her. Halep will make this a physical battle where she will be too strong.
Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Jennifer Brady in 2 sets
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