Simona Halep will hope to keep her slam winning streak going on Tuesday, taking on Nicole Gibbs for a spot in the second round of the US Open. The Romanian’s surprise Wimbledon title will give her plenty of confidence coming into the tournament and also gives her an outside chance of becoming No.1 at this end of this tournament too.
Gibbs, a one time top 70 player, has always been a solid player at this highest levels of ITF tennis on the women’s tour but the full breakthrough has often being tough. However, just being at the US Open will be a major achievement for the American. Gibbs was having surgery for a cancer in her mouth just months ago and has only played a handful of matches since she returned to full health. She lost her final qualifying round match to Shuai Peng but is one of a number of lucky losers in the draw.
Halep’s US Open series didn’t give her much to shout about with a retirement loss and a three set defeat to Madison Keys. The latter may not be too concerning with Keys peaking at the right time but it will raise question marks about how she can cope with power players at the top of their game once more. The US Open is now the only slam she hasn’t made a final at but she is by no means a poor performer at the event, having made the semi finals as recently as 2015.
“The pressure of doing something special, it’s off. Now what comes, comes as a bonus. I’m still working, I’m still motivated to win titles. Now I started to feel more and more that I’m capable to do that, so my confidence is very high but doesn’t mean that this week I’m going to be the same. I don’t want to put expectations, like clear expectations on myself. I just want to take day by day and to see how good I can be every tournament.” she said. Her opener should be fairly routine but the popcorn matchup with Bianca Andreescu in round four is what everyone will be having their eyes on.
Prediction – Simona Halep in straight sets