Simona Halep: Wimbledon Win Showed Me How Well I Can Play - UBITENNIS
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Simona Halep: Wimbledon Win Showed Me How Well I Can Play

Simona Halep talked about her high level of self-belief and her relief at ending her sequence of US Open first-round losses.



Simona Halep (@WilsonTennis on Twitter)

Simona Halep is a picture of contentment at the moment. She smiles when she practices and when she is talking to the media, she is delighted when she wins and she does not seem too affected when she loses.


This is because the Romanian knows what she is doing now. She is 27 and at her peak, she works hard, she has good people supporting her on and off court and she is managing her schedule sensibly. In short, she is doing all the right things to give herself the best chance of success.

Halep’s meticulous, measured approach to the 2019 season paid off spectacularly at Wimbledon. She found some good rhythm on grass in the preceding week at Eastbourne. Then she gradually improved with every round at the All England Club, which set her up for a near-perfect performance in the final that made the great Serena Williams look ordinary.

“The good thing is that I believe I can touch that level,” the Romanian said in her press conference. “If I keep working really hard every day, I can do it again. That’s why I’m motivated. I’m still hungry for results, for titles.”

“I’m sure that with matches and with tournaments I can get back there. Probably this tournament, I don’t know, maybe next one. You never know.”

She continued, “You just have to believe and go ahead. You have nothing to lose now in my position. I’ve done everything I wanted, extra winning Wimbledon. I’m pretty relaxed. But still I have expectations for myself. I’m trying to get better day by day.”

This kind of response is typical from Halep. Her belief in herself is obvious, but she clearly never gets ahead of herself. Instead, she focuses on the process of practising well, improving her tennis and winning one match at a time.

Halep shows her class to beat ‘mirror image’ Gibbs

Nicole Gibbs (@USTA on Twitter)

The Romanian’s approach served her well in her first-round match at this year’s US Open. She was up against Nicole Gibbs, who is in many ways her mirror image. She is the same height and almost exactly the same weight and their body shapes are very similar.

Furthermore, both the American and Halep are primarily defensive players. They are great athletes and defend her baselines very well. They also have fast reactions and can be effective at the net.

The similar styles of the players produced a closely-fought match that went the distance. Halep eventually won it 6-3 3-6 6-2.

In the first and third sets, the Romanian demonstrated two of the main qualities that explain why she is ranked No.4 and Gibbs’ highest career ranking is No.68.

The first quality is footwork. While the American is good in this regard, nobody gets into better positions to hit a tennis ball than Halep. She is the best in the world.

The second quality is attacking play. Gibbs is a very good defender who is capable of dragging almost anyone into long rallies, but she is not good enough at finishing points to consistently beat players in the top 50. By contrast, the Romanian can hit winners against anyone when she reaches top form.

This encounter illustrated Halep’s superiority in attack, as her performance dictated how the match went. In the first set, she won 65% of points on her first serve, hit 15 winners and made 12 unforced errors. She won it 6-3.

In the second set, the Romanian struck just 7 winners and made an uncharacteristically high number (22) of unforced errors. She lost it 6-3.

And in the decider, Halep raised her game once more. She hit 12 winners and 8 unforced errors and won it 6-2.

Halep happy to overcome the stress of previous first-round defeats

Simona Halep (@CincyTennis on Twitter)

In her press conference afterwards, the World No.4 seemed very relieved to get the victory after losing in the first round of the US Open in 2017 and 2018.

“The pressure was tricky today,” the Romanian. “Winning one match in three years is pretty tough. But it’s good that I could get over that.”

“I was stressed before the match. It was not easy to play on the same court that I lost on last year. But I’m really happy that I could manage in the end to play better than in previous sets. In the third set my level was really good.”

Halep continued, “I definitely feel lighter now. I feel much better after finally winning a match in this tournament.”

“I don’t feel great at the beginning of tournaments. But always when I have played tough matches at the start, then I have made it through to the semi-finals or quarter-finals. So I’m confident. I’m moving well and I feel like my game is there.”

Now that the Romanian has ended her sequence of first-round losses at Flushing Meadows, it is hard not to look ahead to possible headline clashes later in the tournament.

The first of those could come in the last 16 against one of the sport’s newest stars, Bianca Andreescu, who has won all seven matches she has played against top ten players so far.

But Halep definitely will not be looking that far ahead. She focuses only on the next task, which on this occasion is a second-round clash with Taylor Townsend, and it is a method that is serving her superbly at the moment.


Alexander Bublik reaches his third career semifinal with win over Denis Shapovalov in Marseille



Alexander Bublik reached the third ATP Tour semifinal of his career after beating Canadian Canadian Next Gen player Denis Shapovalov 7-5 4-6 6-3 after 2 hours and 18 minutes at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille.


Bublik fended off a total of four break points in the first set, including three chances from 0-40, got the break in the 12th game to close out the first set 7-5, when Shapovalov hit a forehand volley wide at 30-40 after 45 minutes.

Both players traded breaks at the start of the second set. Bublik did not convert three break points at 3-2, when he hit a forehand into the net on his first break point chance. Shapovalov broke serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead with a drop shot and wrapped up the second set with his third ace.

Bublik opened up a 2-0 lead with a break in the second game of the third set. Shapovalov broke straight back in the third game. Bublik got another break lead in the eighth lead at 15, when Shapovalov hit a forehand wide. Bublik sealed the win with a hold at love.

“He is a great player and serve. It was our first match, but I have known him for a very long time. I was happy to break in the first set, then in the second set he was better, and I had my chances in the third and I held on. So I am very happy”,said Bublik.

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Milos Raonic, Steve Johnson, Frances Tiafoe and Ugo Humbert reach the quarter final in Delray Beach



Milos Raonic hit 11 aces and saved the three break points he faced to beat German Cedrik Marcel Stebe 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 36 minutes reaching the quarter final at the Delray Beach, an ATP Tour 250 tournament.


Raonic earned a break in each set. Stebe earned a break point in the ninth game with a forehand down the line, but Raonic saved it with a forehand. Raonic faced two more break points in the 11th game, but Raonic saved them with service winners. Raonic earned a break with a forehand down the line winner in the 12th game to close out the first set 7-5. Raonicwon four consecutive points on return to earn a break and closed out the match 6-3 with a hold of serve.

“I got lucky through that first set and then I tried to be a bit more aggressive, create more things and that put a bit more pressure on him. It opened up the match for me a bit more”, said Raonic.

Raonic set up a quarter final against Steve Johnson, who edged past his compatriot Jack Sock 6-4 5-7 6-1 after 2 hours and 5 minutes to reach his first quarter final at ATP Tour level in six months. Johnson came back from losing the second set by racing out to a 5-0 lead.

“This is just one of those tournaments where you feel comfortable coming back every year. It’s great to see Sock back. I thought he played a really good second set and I just got bit of a momentum in the third set”, said Johnson.

French Next Gen player Ugo Humbert edged Miomir Kecmanovic 6-4 7-6 (8-6) after 1 hour and 42 minutes to reach his third quarter final in 2020. Humbert fended off eight of the ten break points he faced and earned three breaks to win the last four games of the first set from 2-4 down. Humbert broke Kecmanovic, as the Serbian player was serving for the second set at 6-5. The Frenchman saved a set point and came back from 5-6 down by winning the final three points of the tie-break to clinch the win after 1 hour and 43 minutes. Humbert has improved his win-loss record this year to 8-3.

“It’s always tough to play against Miomir, because he is a great player. He always plays at a high level. I lost to him last week and I was a little bit stressed before the match, so I am very happy to get the win today. You have to enjoy the victory because it’s not easy every week. Winning in Auckland gave me a lot of confidence. I beat some great players, but I have to continue my improvement every day”,said Humbert.

Humbert will face US player Frances Tiafoe, who battled past Tommy Paul 7-5 7-6 (7-4). Both players stayed neck and neck in the first set until the 11th game when Tiafoe earned a break with a return winner. He served out the set 7-5 with a service winner in the 12th game.

Paul earned a break in the sixth game, but he dropped his serve, while he serving for the set at 5-3. Tiafoe closed out the match with a backhand crosscourt winner at 6-4 in the tie-break.

“It’s never easy playing a good friend. It’s awkward, but I thought it was a pretty good match overall. My forehand was definitely on, so that helped. I am starting to play good tennis again and just competing hard in every match”,said Tiafoe.  

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Simona Halep rallies from one set down to beat Aryna Sabalenka in Dubai



Simona Halep came back from one set down to beat Aryna Sabalenka 3-6 6-2 6-2 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in one hour and 35 minutes to advance to the semifinals in Dubai one day after saving a match point against Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur.


Halep earned her third win in four head-to-head matches against Sabalenka.

Halep broke in the second game of the second set to take a 2-0 lead, but Sabalenka broke straight back in the next game. Halep broke serve in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead and never faced any break point in the next games.

Halep earned a break in the fourth game of the decider and backed it up to open up a 4-1 lead. The 2019 Wimbledon champion was taken to deuce once in her last eight service games of the match.

“I think I started to play a little bit stronger in the second set and find rhythm. It’s always tough to play against her because she is very strong and hits the ball really hard, so I had to play faster, be quicker on court and give everything I had to win”, said Halep.

Halep will face US qualifier Jennifer Brady, who clinched a win against a top 20 player for the third consecutive year by beating this year’s Australian Open finalist Garbine Muguruza 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-4. Brady has reached her third WTA semifinal and the first at Premier level.

Muguruza earned a break point with a forehand winner, as Brady was serving for the set. Brady was broken, when she hit two consecutive forehands into the net. Muguruza rallied from 1-3 to draw level to 5-5 and earned her first set point. The Spaniard sealed the tie-break, as Brady sent her backhand long.

Muguruza earned a break point in the sixth game with a backhand winner. Brady saved the break point with a forehand crosscourt winner and held serve with a backhand winner down the line. Brady broke serve to take a 4-3, as Muguruza made two forehand errors and hit two double faults. Muguruza dropped her serve again with another double fault.

Both players held serve in the first nine games of the third set. Muguruza held three break points in the third game, but Brady saved them with a backhand crosscourt winner. Brady sealed the win with a break on her second match point, as Muguruza sent a backhand long.



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