Simona Halep will be looking to match her best slam run of the year on Monday with a victory over Carla Suarez Navarro ensuring that she will at least make a quarter final for the second year running. The Romanian was a semi finalist last year but will have a tough time getting there again with Serena Williams the likely opponent for the winner of this match.
Halep had cruised through the first two rounds, dropping just 9 games against Kirsten Flipkens and Lucie Safarova before running into an inspired Timea Babos in the third round. Babos fought back after a 6-1 first set loss to go a break up in the third and hold break points at 4-4 which would have seen her serving for the match had she converted them. The Hungarian failed to do so and would eventually double fault on match point to end the match in disappointing fashion, falling to a 6-1 2-6 6-4 defeat.
“I just tried to open the court more. I was hitting strong also, but I was too far back and my ball was too short always. She had too much time to come in and be aggressive to dominate me. Then I started to play deeper and I think that made the situation change” Halep said when reflecting on the tough final two sets.
Suarez Navarro meanwhile has been going about her business quietly with three routine wins in the opening week including a notable double bagel against Teliana Pereira in round one. The Spaniard is a one time quarter finalist, losing 6-0 6-0 to eventual champion Serena Williams in a disastrous match for her on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
While the head to head between these two is deadlocked at 5-5, there is a clear advantage for Halep who is 4-1 on hard courts, most recently winning at Indian Wells last year on the surface. Since her breakthrough 2014, Halep has had a number of letdowns at slams and while she has avoided being embarrassed on this occasion – she would still be disappointed if she is not playing Serena Williams on Wednesday night.
Prediction – Simona Halep in straight sets