Simona Halep’s win over Ons Jabuer in the quarters was one of her best performances in a long time against a tough opponent. She faces Jelena Ostapenko who along with Simona was unseeded for this one, won a tough three setter against Kvitova in the last eight. Both are former Grand Slam champions although Jelena has had lesser fortunes on Tour than Halep. Halep was the first player to have go break up in the match. It surprised me quite a bit because Jelena had such a great start to the match. Halep’s serve never the most powerful was susceptible to the odd winner. That is until the fifth game when Simona took control OF THE SET. Jelena had some impressive shots though, check out 4-2(15-0). I love the follow through from Ostapenko on the backhand. The follow through gives the ball the pace without necessarily much effort. Simona used her serving accuracy to win the first set convincingly 6-2. She served 60% on first serve winning 58% of her second serve points. Watch the clinching ace at 5-2(40-15). The pace on the serve surprised me. She got the pace by tossing the ball slightly to the right to get the ball to have a bouncing motion when it hit the racquet.
Second set Ostapenko had the lioness share of the winners. None so nice to watch as first game 30-30. The winner in the next game which happened to be on the Halep serve at 30-40. This is a good example of going on the front foot early. Right from the first return, Simona was struggling rooted to the baseline. Simona did fight back to send the set to a breaker. But before I look at the breaker, take a look at this point at 4-3(30-15). Halep could have seen Jelena way inside the baseline on serving but that is the thing with serving you are concentrating on the serve not on where the opponent is. It takes a special kind of player to do both. How one sided was that tie breaker? Halep was let down by her lack of aggressive tennis early on her serves. Check out 1-0. The return wasn’t all that great from Jelena so Simona could have capitalized by playing the forehand deep, instead it was way short. Worst tie breaker of the year by a player? Try worst set of a match this year. The third was one sided it, such that the game became an anti climax. Simona couldn’t find an answer to Ostapenko’s deep forehands as she was dismissed for a bagel.