A first-time meeting between Simona Halep and Alison Riske is scheduled to take place on Wednesday afternoon in Rome. Halep, who is coming off a disappointing week in Madrid, will look to rebound successfully in her final warm-up event ahead of the French Open.
Following an excellent start to her 2015 season, which included title wins in Dubai and Indian Wells, and most recently reached the semi-final stage in Miami, Simona Halep was dealt a significant blow on Sunday when she was ousted from the Madrid Open in her opening round match.
Faced with the inconsistent game of French No. 1 Alize Cornet, many assumed that Halep would be victorious en route to the second round of the tournament. However, the Romanian played an off-colour match and eventually surrendered the contest and allowed Cornet to close out the affair 7-6(6), 6-3.
“I learned many things from this match, like that I have to be relaxed when I’m defending big points. So I will forget this tournament – the tournament is lost. I have nothing to do but to look ahead now.”
“I had some problems last week in Madrid, but I’m feeling happy with my game again now,” she said. “I am hoping to have some more matches on clay – I still need some matches to reach my highest level. I’ll need to fight this week, because right now I’m a little bit far away from where I want to be.
Halep will begin her campaign against USA’s Alison Riske. The American reached the second round of the tournament with a straight sets win against Varvara Lepchenko. She won 74% of her first service points, saved three break points and converted four others to secure the 6-4, 6-3 win in one hour and 32 minutes.
This is just the first time that Halep and Riske cross paths on the professional circuit. Although this could serve as another surprising upset, Halep will likely be wary of her previous mistakes and will work on keeping her anxiety at bay while on court.
Prediction: Simona Halep in Three Sets