Although on the other side of the draw, the likes of Simona Halep‘s eyes will light up at the exit of Serena Williams on the other side of the draw. The Romanian is amongst the players considered likely to make a run to the final and can move one step closer with a win over Yulia Putintseva on Saturday.
Putintseva was once seen as just an inconsistent and unpredictable player but she appears a much improved player in recent years while remaining fairly drama free on court at the same time. She will be hoping to best her career high of No. 27 in 2020 but it would need a few more wins to happen as soon as the end of this fortnight. The Kazakh is as nimble as you’d expect from a player with her 5ft4 frame and she used that to full effect to shock Danielle Collins in three sets 6-4 2-6 7-5. She could have been forgiven for falling apart after failing to serve out the match but recovered to break right back and close it out to move into the third round.
Halep had a fairly comfortable time on court in her second round match, breaking Harriet Dart 5 times in her 6-2 6-4 victory. She will be concerned at a few sloppy service games but otherwise it was a decent enough performance for her level of opponent. “I was leading pretty well at 5-1. But then, I don’t know what happened, I lost focus a little bit and she started to play freely. She didn’t miss that much. I played a little bit short. Then she controlled me a little bit.” she said. “But I’m happy that I could hold that last game. That was important.”
Halep may well be pleased that Putintseva has done some of the heavy lifting for her with taking out Danielle Collins in the previous round – an in-form heavy hitter who had beaten players with similar styles already this year. It’s not to say that it will be all straight forward for the Romanian but the match of styles is definitely far more favourable in this case.
Prediction – Simona Halep in straight sets