Sydney R2: (1) Simona Halep vs Caroline Garcia
Romanian top seed Simona Halep will finally begin her 2016 season on Tuesday when she comes up against an in-form Caroline Garcia in the second round at the APIA international Sydney. This is a wonderful opportunity for Caroline Garcia to build on her positive start to the season and record a victory over a potentially rusty Simona Halep.
Simona was scheduled to play in Brisbane last week but was forced to make a late withdrawal from the tournament with a left leg injury. The Romanian was supposed to play Victoria Azarenka in a blockbuster second round clash before her shock withdrawal which created a bit of controversy. The Romanian quickly flew down to Sydney and has been training at Sydney Olympic Park for almost a week, don’t rule out another withdrawal or retirement by Halep here.
Caroline Garcia has made a very impressive start to her 2016 campaign and looks like being one of many young stars who could make a significant impact this year. The Frenchwoman participated in the Hopman Cup last week where she won all three of her singles matches, recording victories over Heather Watson, Sabine Lisicki and Daria Gavrilova. Garcia therefore arrives in Sydney full of confidence, that was quite evident in her 7-6 6-4 victory over compatriot Kristina Mladenovic in the first round on Sunday.
This will be the first career meeting between Simona and Caroline, seemingly the first of many. This is a really tough opening match for Halep, Garcia will give her no rhythm and is the type of aggressive player that Simona can often struggle against. There is no doubt that Garcia has the game to trouble Halep and I believe she is very well prepared to cause an upset here. Garcia has already played and won 4 matches this year, a massive advantage against an opponent in their first match of the year.