Indian Wells R2: (5) Simona Halep vs Vania King
Simona Halep will commence her title defense at the BNP Paribas Open on Friday evening with a second round clash against American Vania King. The Romanian’s Indian Wells title 12 months ago remains the biggest title of her career thus far, her first and only premier mandatory level title. Simona’s early season form has been extremely poor, the Romanian will be keen to recapture her form of 12 months ago and go on another strong run in the Californian desert.
Simona Halep arrives at the BNP Paribas Open having lost 5 of her last 6 matches, including back-to-back first round losses in Dubai and Doha last month. Halep has been dealing with several health problems in the first few months of the year. The Romanian has explained that her preparation for this event has been very good, stating that she has been able to train hard and is finally without pain or illness, therefore Simona should be expected to play some decent tennis over the next couple of weeks. It is important for Simona to quickly recapture her form given the amount of points she has to defend over the next month (title defense at Indian Wells and semi-final points in Miami).
Vania King recorded a surprisingly comfortable 6-2 6-3 victory over Taylor Townsend in the opening round to set up a clash with the defending champion. King’s form in the lead up to this event has been okay, the American spent the last month competing in ITF events where she reached a semi-final and a final.
Interestingly, it was Vania King who won the only previous encounter between the pair. The American recorded a 7-6 6-1 victory at the Rogers Cup back in 2010. Obviously, much has changed since that meeting. A very different scoreline is to be expected on this occasion.
This is a favourable draw for Simona Halep to begin her title defence at the BNP Paribas Open. Simona should be able to dictate play in this match-up and should be able to find quickly find a good rhythm. Simona has been seen practising really hard in last couple of days and looks to be in the best physical shape she has been in all season. Simona should win this pretty easily. It would be quite disastrous for Simona if she is unable to get through this match, this is simply a match that she must win.
Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Vania King in 2 sets