Tournament favorite Halep, who was doubtful to play at the tournament after tearing an ankle ligament two weeks ago, thrashed Jana Cepelova in the first round in straight sets in just 15 games 6-2, 6-3. The 3rd seed has been enjoying some of her best tennis in the last couple of weeks after winning the Madrid Open and reaching the finals at Rome. Even though she was stunning in her returns against Cepelova to score a comfortable victory, it was far from her best display.
Speaking of her injury, the former French Open finalist said “It was a little bit difficult, but the last three, four days I practiced normally. I played some points in practice, and I didn’t feel pain. But still, it’s a little bit difficult, because when it’s cold, it’s gets a little bit swollen.”
Next up for the Romanian is the World No.102 Tatjana Maria.
Maria opened her French open 2017 campaign and repeated her best result with a 6-4, 6-1 win against Duan Yingying in the opening round. The German, who is one of the women on the WTA combining professional tennis with motherhood, has managed to reach the second round only once in her past seven appearances. She passed the first round of the Nurnberger Versicherungs Cup last week. Reaching her career high ranking of 62 in July 2015, she has also scored victory against a top-10 player when she beat Eugenie Bouchard in Miami 2015.
The German didn’t have a great start to the 2017 season when she failed to qualify for Auckland, Hobart and the Australian Open but with her win at the ITF $100k Midland title, she qualified for and made the quarterfinals of the Indian Wells eventually falling to Francesca Schiavone.
With some of the top seeded players falling in the opening rounds and many others having to encounter lengthy battles against determined players, Halep should not face any big troubles to storm past Tatjana, who has a 5-5 record at the last 10 matches played.