It’s a quick turnaround for Simona Halep, who plays two days running to get back on schedule in the tournament. She will face the American Taylor Townsend, just 24 hours after winning her opening round match on day four in Paris. The winner will face either Bethanie Mattek Sands or Andrea Petkovic in round three, with the potential for a rematch of the 2014 semi final between Halep and Petkovic.
Halep started the tournament sloppily, losing the opening set to Alison Riske before eventually winning a comfortable 2-6 6-1 6-1. “I had a slow start because it’s always tough to start this tournament. It’s a pleasure to come here and to play, so always I feel nervous at the beginning,” Halep said afterwards. “It was good that I came back so strong. I just didn’t think about the result or about the match. I just wanted to relax my arms, because I was moving pretty well also at the beginning, but my arm was very tight and I couldn’t hit the ball as I wanted.
Halep may have been even more vulnerable against more naturally clay courters although Townsend had a great run of form on American clay to earn her wildcard entry into the tournament. She was fortunate enough to draw one of the weakest players in the draw in fellow wildcard Myrtille Georges and delivered a win as expected in straight sets.
“It’s different, because she’s lefty, so it’s going to be different match,” said Halep, who is remaining cautious going into this match. “If I remember well, I played her in Cincinnati. I remember that she’s solid. She hits strong. I have just to move her, to be aggressive, and to play like today, but just the second set and the third set.”
Prediction – Simona Halep in straight sets