Tournament favourite Simona Halep begins her chase for a second Grand Slam title on Sunday, taking on Sara Sorribes Tormo for a spot in the second round. The Romanian is a three time finalist in Paris with her 2018 title coming after heartbreaking losses in 2014 and 2017. It could be an all-Romanian clash in round two but Irina Camelia Begu would have to see off an improving Jil Teichmann to make it so.
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Sorribes Tormo has been floating around the top 100 for the past few years without really challenging the top 50 at all. The Spaniard is a fairly defensive player and does rely on drawing errors from her opponent, something she is unlikely to see much of from Halep. Her best win on clay came this year in Fed Cup, where she thrashed Naomi Osaka 6-3 6-0.
Halep is currently in the midst of a 14 match winning streak, dating back to the start of Dubai. She picked up clay titles in Prague and Rome, either side of the US Open in which she didn’t compete. The top seed does have to still be considered the one to beat on clay and her Rome title saw her beat two of her bigger rivals for the trophy. She took out Garbine Muguruza in three sets and was 6-0 2-1 up before Karolina Pliskova called it quits in the final.
This should be a fairly routine start against a player who doesn’t really have the attacking game to trouble her much at all. As well as a second Paris title being up for grabs, winning it all would see Halep move back to the No.1 spot in the WTA rankings. “Of course is gonna be beautiful to finish again No. 1, to get the place No. 1, but it’s too far,” Halep said. “I cannot think about winning the title in Roland Garros, because the tournament didn’t start yet. But I am there. I will give my best. I will dream for it, for sure.”
Prediction – Simona Halep in straight sets