World No.1 Simona Halep looks to continue her strong start to the season on Thursday, playing her opener at the Miami Open against French lucky loser Oceane Dodin. The Romanian will retain her No.1 spot regardless of what she achieves over the next fortnight after Caroline Wozniacki’s points for a losing final last year dropped off.
Dodin has had a hectic start to the tournament after qualifying for the event. In her first round qualifier, she had a medical timeout in her win over Naomi Broady. It seemed like she was further feeling the effects of that injury after retiring against Alison Riske, only to become a lucky loser and win her first round proper against Veronica Cepede Royg. The big hitting Frenchwoman tougher out a three setter, backed by a 81% win percentage on her first serve.
Having made the final four at Indian Wells, Halep looked the favourite to win the event especially with an opponent in Naomi Osaka that she had beaten comfortably just months prior next. However, she was thoroughly outplayed by the eventual champion and won just three games in defeat. “The big positive is that I played semis after so many weeks off, after a tough injury, so I’m not going to destroy this tournament just for this match.” she said after that match.
With the injury that saw her withdraw in Doha seemingly out the way, Halep looks prime for another strong run and should thrive in the Miami conditions.
Prediction – Simona Halep in straight sets