Cincinnati R2: (3) Simona Halep vs Kristina Mladenovic
After receiving a bye through to the second round, Simona Halep will begin her 2015 Western & Southern Open campaign on Wednesday when she comes up against Kristina Mladenovic. Simona will be seeking revenge in this one, Mladenovic has defeated the Romanian in their only two previous meetings.
Simona Halep started her U.S Open series in style, reaching the final at the Rogers Cup in Toronto last week. Halep played some great tennis last week, defeating Jankovic, Kerber, Radwanska and Errani on route to her fourth final of the year. However the week ended on a sour note for the world number 3, forced to retire and concede defeat midway through the deciding set of her final against Belinda Bencic. Several long matches in succession took their toll on Simona, coupled with the heat she was left feeling extremely unwell during the final. Simona gave it her all, winning the second set despite clearly struggling but eventually decided to hand the defeat to Bencic.
Kristina Mladenovic arrived in Cincinnati deprived of form, having lost three matches in a row including first round exits in Washington and Toronto. Nevertheless, the Frenchwoman made a great start in Cincinnati, thumping Daniela Hantuchova 6-2 6-1 to set up a second round clash with the world number 3.
Mladenovic will enter this match full of confidence given her record against Halep. Mladenovic has a perfect 2-0 head to head record over Simona, including a 2-6 6-0 7-6 victory over the Romanian earlier this year in Birmingham. There are some question marks surrounding the fitness of Halep heading into this event but I’m going to assume she is ready to play. Simona played some wonderful tennis last week and looks to be playing with confidence again. Simona is a smart lady, it’s hard to see her losing to Mladenovic 3 times a row, she will find a way to win this.