World No. 2 Simona Halep will meet No. 65 Jana Cepelova in the second round of the United States Open on Wednesday afternoon following their respective openers on Monday. This is the first time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour and should make for an exciting encounter.
The second seed looked to be off to a terrible start in New York when she dropped her opening set at the tournament to local player Danielle Rose Collins. It was a surprising result considering the University of Virginia student was down 1-3 in early on before stealing the opening frame in a tiebreak. The two reached 1-1 in the second set before Halep stormed through the remainder of the set – snatching five consecutive games in the process – to force a decider.
Halep would go on to drop just two games in the third set to win the match 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-2. The Romanian hit 3 aces, 24 winners and won 80% of her first service points to close out the match in 1 hour and 58 minutes.
“Today was a big challenge for me because I played the first match of the tournament on center court,” Halep said. “It’s not easy to manage that situation, and I started a little bit nervous, but I think after the first set did I very well. Also, she played really well. She was hitting the ball well and serving well. She will for sure have a good future.”
Halep’s second round opponent is Jana Cepelova, who also needed three sets to defeat Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor 2-6, 7-5, 6-1. She won 56% of her first service points but no aces and no winners.
“She’s had a good year,” Halep said. “I saw her make the final in Charleston. She’s a good player, so it will be another tough match. I will prepare for the match and hopefully win it.”
Prediction: Simona Halep in Straight Sets