Saturday, August 24, 2013

Simon(a) says: Put your hands up high!

It was only a matter of time before Simona Halep won a premier WTA event. The Romanians are a talented lot, but it's Halep who has learned how to see the big picture and make the adjustments necessary to prevail. Today, she beat defending champion Petra Kvitova 6-2, 6-2 to win the New Haven Open, her fourth title of the season.

Today's final illustrated a sharp contrast: One player showed up to win, the other looked lost. And though Kvitova looked like "herself" at the beginning of the match, the unforced errors began to creep in, and Halep was quick to sense the vulnerability of her opponent. Known for her superb baseline game, Halep also is a good reader of the court, a clever defensive player, and--on a day like today--a very good server. In fact, she had crazy first/second serve percentages of 78 and 81.

Keeping her cool throughout most of the tournament (and recovering it quickly when she lost it), the unseeded Halep took out Daniela Hantuchova, Carla Suarez Navarro, Ekaterina Makarova, and Caroline Wozniacki on her way to the New Haven final. Next week, the Romanian player will be number 19 in the world. Halep had to withdraw from a couple of events because of a back injury, but she appears to be okay now. During the latter part of the week, she declared that everything--her body, her racket, the tennis balls--felt good.

3rd seeds Sania Mirza and Zheng Jie won the doubles title. Mirza and Zheng defeated 2nd seeds Anabel Medina Garrigues and Katarina Srebotnik 6-3, 6-4 in the final.

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