World No.1 Simona Halep kicks off her tournament on Friday afternoon against Kristyna Pliskova. The Romanian holds a sizable lead over No.2 Caroline Wozniacki but an early exit at this tournament may allow the Dane to seize the top spot once more.
“I don’t feel the pressure for sure and I never felt it since I’ve touched this place. I enjoy the time being here. Of course, maybe the expectations are higher now, I expect more from myself but I’m trying also to understand what is happening.” Halep said on the pressure of dealing with being at the No.1 spot. The Romanian has had a few weeks off since withdrawing from Doha at the semi final stage but has had a productive 2018 so far. She will have been disappointed to have come out on the wrong side of a three setter in the Australian Open final although she nears ever closer to that elusive grand slam and will likely be favourite to win in Paris.
Meanwhile, Pliskova began her tournament with a win over Ying-Ying Duan. She saved set point in the second to beat the Chinese for only her third main draw win of the year. Although not to the standard of sister Karolina, the Czech plays a similar style and managed to pick up a top 10 win earlier in the year over Jelena Ostapenko in Shenzhen. Halep should have no trouble eventually grinding down the Czech with her 6-1 6-2 win in Madrid last year giving her a lot to be confident about.
Prediction – Simona Halep in three sets