Reigning Roland Garros champion Simona Halep recovered from a slow start only to finish in emphatic style against China’s Zheng Saisai, 7-5, 6-0, winning a ninth straight Grand Slam match as she returns to the third round of Wimbledon without dropping a set.
“It was not easy,” Halep said after the match. “I had pressure little bit of losing that set. But I didn’t panic. I think this was the best thing that I did: I didn’t panic. I was just calm, just to play every ball.”
Halep trailed 3-5 in the opening set as Zheng, a former Top 60 player, sliced and diced her way to a winning position against the World No.1, but the Romanian turned the tables and won the last 10 games of their second round clash to advance after 76 minutes on No.1 Court, wtatennis.com.
“I really believe that I have the power to come back if I stay focused. I just opened the game better, I opened the court, then I went to the net pretty much today. After the first set, was much better.
The top seed will remain atop the WTA rankings regardless of her result at Wimbledon following Caroline Wozniacki’s and Sloane Stephens’ early losses, and showed why she has been ranked No.1 in the world for the last 19 consecutive weeks (35 in total) on Thursday, striking 20 winners to 19 unforced errors and winning 12 of 18 points at net.
“I’m relaxed. Of course, is not easy to play on grass. I didn’t have official matches before this, but step by step I’m starting to feel the game and feel better on the court. Even if I have pain everywhere because of the grass, it’s okay. I just started to get used to it.
“On grass you never know what is going to happen on court. Every match is really important. Every match I’m going there very focused.”
Up next for the 2014 semi-finalist is former WTA Doubles No.1 Hsieh Su-Wei, who is into the third round of Wimbledon in the midst of a career renaissance, having started the season with a run to the second week of the Australian Open and returned to the world’s Top 50 for the first time since 2013.
Begu/Buzarnescu defeat Gavrilova/Lapko
Romanian pair Irina Begu/Mihaela Buzărnescu, 15th seeded, qualified for the second round of the women’s doubles on grass after defeating Daria Gavrilova (Australia) /Vera Lapko (Belarus) 6-3, 7-6 (3).
Begu and Buzărnescu, finalists last weekend at Eastbourne, won in an hour and 34 minutes.
In the second round, they will face the Romanian-American pair made up of Ana Bogdan and the American player Kaitlyn Christian.
Begu and Buzărnescu secured a cheque of GBP 17,750 and 130 WTA points in the doubles.