After starting her season off with two successive victories, top seed Simona Halep will take part in her first quarter-final of a tournament on Thursday afternoon when she meets Romania’s Aleksandra Krunic for the second time on the professional circuit. Halep leads the head-to-head series 1-0, with a victory last season in Bucharest.
After starting the year against Annika Beck, the Romanian star was faced with a intriguing challenge in the second round: 17-year-old Russian wildcard Natalia Vikhlyantseva. The world No. 3 was far from interested in an entertaining and competitive match, as she won 69% of her first service points, won 20 of 27 return points on the youngster’s second serve and saved five break points to close out the match 6-2, 6-2 in exactly 61 minutes.
“It wasn’t very easy because she’s a really good player and played really well. She served very well,” Halep said afterwards. “But I’m happy that I played better than I did in the first round. I feel like my form is getting better and better day by day – I really want to do better match by match here.
“I want to see how far I can go because I like this tournament. I’m really enjoying it.”
Aleksandra Krunic needed over twice the court time on Wednesday to dispatch her Slovakian opponent Anna Schmiedlova. She eventually edged out her opponent 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-1 in two hours and 17 minutes. She even saved triple match point at 6-5 down in the second set.
This marks just the second time that these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Halep leading the series 1-0. The world No. 3’s victory took place in Bucharest last season on clay, where Halep won the match 6-4, 6-2.
Prediction: Simona Halep in Straight Sets