Yet to drop more than six games in a match this week in Birmingham, Simona Halep is through to the quarter-final stage of the Aegon Classic tournament, where she will come up against Kristina Mladenovic, whom she hasn’t faced since their sole meeting on the tour last season in Paris. The French player leads the head-to-head series 1-0.
Up against a veteran player on Thursday, Simona Halep defeated Klara Koukalova in straight sets to advance to the final eight in Birmingham. She hit 14 winners and won 79% of her first service points to close out the match 6-1, 6-3 in a total of 50 minutes.
“I expected a tough match because she plays very hard on grass with her type of game,” Halep said. “It’s difficult to play her on this surface but I didn’t really want to think about that – I just came out here and played my game, played my style, stayed aggressive and especially served very well in the match.
“It was a good match for me today. It was my second match on grass this year so I’m feeling better on it, and I feel no pressure – I’m just enjoying the tennis here, and enjoying playing on this nice court.”
Halep is scheduled to meet Kristina Mladenovic, who also needed straight sets against Barbora Strycova to advance to the quarter-final stage in Birmingham. She withstood six aces, won 81% of her first service point and saved six of seven break point opportunities to close out the match in one hour and 34 minutes.
This marks the second time that Halep and Mladenovic will meet on the WTA tour, with Mladenovic leading the head-to-head series 1-0. Halep will look to avenge that loss this time around given her solid performances so far this week and level the series before they move over to the Wimbledon Championships.
Prediction: Simona Halep in Three Sets