After deciding not to take part in the Rogers Cup in Montreal, Simona Halep made a winning start to her US Open Series to set up a Cincinnati third round encounter with Lucie Safarova. This marks the fourth time these two competitors will meet on the WTA tour, with the Halep vs Safarova Head to Head standing at 2-1.
The new world No. 2, who will rise to that new ranking in September following the US Open Series, did not appear to have any rust to shake off early on in her Cincinnati opener against Kirsten Flipkens. The Romanian stormed to a 5-1 lead, and while her Belgian opponent managed to level the score again, Halep would pick up the pace and close out the match 6-4, 6-2.
One of the better first round matches played on Tuesday was between Lucie Safarova and Venus Williams, which saw Safarova rally from a set down to win 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-4. The third set was particularly intriguing, as Safarova held a 5-1 lead before Williams won three consecutive games to bring the match to 5-4.
“Venus is a great player,” Safarova said. “She has performed really well lately. I knew I had to be sharp and fight hard. I think it was a great match, and I’m happy to get my first win over her.”
Safarova would follow up with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Zarina Diyas in 70 minutes to set up the third round encounter with the Romanian.
This marks the fourth time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Halep leading the series 2-1. The Romanian won their last encounter 6-2 4-6 6-4 and this will likely be another entertaining and competitive encounter.
Prediction: Simona Halep in Three Sets