Simona Halep looks to bounce back from her disappointment in Madrid with a strong run in Rome. There is a distant chance she can pick up the No.1 spot this week but must rely on an early Naomi Osaka exit in addition to winning the title herself. Otherwise, it may be a while with French Open winners points to defend. She plays Marketa Vondrousova in her opener.
Vondrousova has had a strong 12 months, rising over 60 places in the rankings in that time. Just outside the top 40, the 19 year-old will look to be seeded at grand slams sooner rather than later. She had to come from a break down in the decider to win her first match, edging fellow Czech Barbara Strycova. It follows her run to the Istanbul final alst month, where she took Petra Martic to three sets before falling to defeat.
Halep was not at her best in the Madrid Open final, losing in straight sets to Kiki Bertens. However, she is not too despondent and knows there are different circumstances regarding her year after finally picking up that much wanted grand slam in Paris last year. “The five past months that I had were good, in my opinion. I knew that this year is going to be a little bit different after winning the Grand Slam, but I’m not that bad.” she said. “In my opinion, on clay court, I play almost my best game. I played good matches, I have confidence. I have experience from tough moments during this five months.”
Halep was defeated by Vondrousova back at Indian Wells but it’s fair to say the conditions are much more in the Romanian’s favour this time round. The match has quite a curious court placing of Pietrangeli but the chances of a shock still look rather slim.
Prediction – Simona Halep in straight sets