Simona Halep has had an injury hit summer which saw her miss out on the Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Her ranking suffered as a result dropping from number 2 to the present 19. But the Romanian looks to be on the mend and continues to improve with each passing hard court tournament. Here she faces local player Veronika Kudermetova in the Round of 16. Impressive outing for Simona particularly in the first set as she dominated Veronika on serve. Check out 1-0(15-15). Simona didn’t put much pace of her serve in this much as her emphasis was on placement. The kicker was her go to serve as per usual to great effect. She was as a result an impressive 69% on first serve. The only disadvantage in playing the kick serve is that your opponent knows what’s coming from a mile away through your body posture. Like Simona, Veronika is in her element on the baseline, ground stroking away to win points. Watch 3-0(15-0) Simona. The Russian shows here she is comfortable with the change of pace as well as at the net. She was however poor on serve which probably shows why she lost the first set 6-1. Veronika was a mere 37% on first serve.
Because of the safe nature of the serving, the aces count suffered. Just two for the whole show all going to Veronika, with Simona double faulting 5 times. Second set looked to be heading the same direction as the first, Simona seizing control of it with an early break(she had a huge 14 break point opportunities for the match). But Veronika fought gallantly. Check out 3-1(30-0). Veronika’s strength is in her backhand which caused all manner of problems for Simona. Here she follows it up with a charge towards the net to cut off the angle. Simona’s unforced errors began to mount in that second set, mostly on Veronika’s serve.
So a tie breaker was probably inevitable based on this. At 4-4 Veronika hit some impressive winners from her forehand. I could see what Simona was trying to do here. She sensed her real issues were with Veronika’s backhand so she decided to serve to her forehand but the Russian can mix it up too. The turning point of the breaker was at 5-4 Halep on serve with Veronika on the racquet. Veronika’s drop shot making was great for most of the match but here she was short. She should have come to the net to narrow the angle as soon as she realized it was short. Simona taking the breaker 7-4. The DF by Veronika on match point one of 4 .Halep faces Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the quarters.