With two of the more aggressive hitters in Aryna Sabalenka and Naomi Osaka already out in the bottom quarter of the draw, Simona Halep may be eyeing a deep run at Wimbledon despite her clear struggles on the surface compared to others. The round two matchup with Mihaela Buzarnescu will at least ensure there is one Romanian in round three but the former No.1 will be heavily favoured to make it there.
Some lengthy losing streaks over the past year have led to Buzarnescu falling from the top 20 to outside the top 50 for now. She had lost four straight before beating Jessica Pegula in her opening here, beating the American in straight sets. Buzarnescu’s story is a fascinating one with the Romanian a junior star before injuries kept her out of action for years, only to bounce back and perform at a higher level than ever before.
Halep opened up the new court 1 on Monday with a straight sets win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 6-4 7-5. It could have been far more stressful for her, as she was down 5-2 in the second set before reeling off five straight to avoid a deciding set. “I’m really happy that I could win this match; it was really tough,” she explained afterwards. “The first match of a tournament is always difficult, and I knew she has been playing great. I just had to stay focused, positive, so I could fight to the end.”
Halep did pick up a minor knock in the win, calling a medical timeout for a left leg injury. “I feel a little bit. I think it’s a little bit stretched, the muscle behind the knee, and also the Achilles. Hopefully is nothing dangerous and I can recover until the next match.” she said, suggesting there is not too much concern for now. If fit, it should be fairly comfortable for Halep, who will look to extend the head to head to 2-0. Their first meeting came in 2008, when both players were ranked outside the top 300.
Prediction – Simona Halep in straight sets