After a disastrous opening round loss to Jana Cepelova last year, Simona Halep will be hoping she doesn’t suffer the same fate against Cepelova’s fellow country woman Anna Karolina Schmiedlova when she begins her Wimbledon on Monday.
The Romanian has had an up and down year from winning Madrid to losing in the opening round of the Australian Open to Shuai Zhang. Halep’s performances in slams have been extremely inconsistent with two R1 exits, a R4 loss and a semi final on her slate in the past year. The most recent of those was the fourth round loss in Paris to Samantha Stosur, a capable clay player but still someone that Halep would be highly favoured to beat.
Halep will want to get over the mental block she appears to be facing at grand slams and should be happy to be facing someone who has no form at all to begin her tournament. Schmiedlova is 1-15 on the tour in 2016, with that one lone January win being followed by 14 losses.
It may be a problem for Halep that she has not played since Paris, having withdrawn from the Aegon Classic in Birmingham due to injury, but barring major problems there will be no excuse for losing in the same fashion as she did last year.
Prediction – Simona Halep in straight sets