Cincinnati: SF #2: (3) Simona Halep vs Jelena Jankovic
Simona Halep and Jelena Jankovic will renew hostilities on Saturday evening when they do head to head in the second semi-final of the 2015 Western & Southern Open. These two have built up a bit of a rivalry over the past year, playing out a couple of tense encounters.
Simona Halep has fought extremely hard this week to reach the final four. The Romanian arrived in Cincinnati with question marks surrounding her fitness after she was forced to retire during her final with Belinda Bencic last week at the Rogers Cup. Halep admitted that she was exhausted after some gruelling matches in Toronto but has somehow regrouped to come through three tough matches in Cincinnati.
Simona scraped through her opening round match, picking up her first victory over Kristina Mladenovic with a hard fought 7-5 5-7 6-4 victory. The world number three came from a set down to defeat Andrea Petkovic in the second round before fighting past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5 6-2 to set up a semi-final clash with Jelena Jankovic. Halep has regained her fighting spirit over the past couple of weeks and looks to be back to her very best. Simona is now one win away from moving back up to number 2 in the rankings.
Jelena Jankovic’s love affair with the Western & Southern Open has continued in 2015. The former champion seems to save her best tennis for Cincinnati. Jankovic has defeated three rising stars in a row to reach the final, recording victories over Madison Keys, Karolina Pliskova and Anna Schmiedlova. Jankovic is playing some of her best tennis of the year, she will need to overcome a poor recent record against Halep if she is to progress to her third final in Cincinnati.
Simona Halep holds a 5-1 head to head record over Jankovic and has won the last 5 encounters between the pair. Despite the lopsided head to head record, the majority of the matches between these two have been very tight. The two met earlier this year in the final at Indian Wells, Jankovic failed to serve out the match before succumbing in a tight third set. Halep defeated Jankovic last week in Toronto, a relatively comfortable 6-3 6-4 triumph.
Halep has played a lot of tennis in the last couple of weeks, it’s going to be very difficult for the Romanian to find the energy to keep going in Cincinnati. Jankovic is playing with a lot of confidence this week and will come into this match the fresher of the two. Jelena has a wonderful record in Cincinnati and will be desperate to pick up a rare victory over the Romanian. This is going to be a very physical match, I like Jelena’s chances in this one.