It looks as if the long break due to the pandemic has brought every player to equal terms. No one looks superior or inferior to other athletes. This was evident at the Prague Open today when World No.2 and No.1 seeded Simona Halep was stretched to her limits by a lowly ranked local player Barbora Krejcikova.
The two-time Grand Slam champion came back from being a set down to defeat Barbora 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 in a tense match. By winning the Round of 16 clashes, the Romanian progresses to the quarterfinals.
The first set went to the home favorite
The first four games of the match were topsy-turvy as none of the two women were able to hold on to their respective serves. Finally, Krejcikova held her own serve in the fifth game to lead 3-2. Simona looked out of sorts as she lost third consecutive game on her serve and trailed 2-4. The local favourite comfortably won the seventh game of the match on her serve and was just one game shy of closing out the first set.
Halep finally held on her serve in the next game, but couldn’t stop Barbora, who again had an easy game on serve, to clinch the first set 6-3.
Simona Bounces back to take the second set
The second set began on a similar note and once again both the women lost their opening service games. Halep won the third game on her service and then went on to break Barbora to lead 3-1. Nevertheless, the happiness short-lived as the Czech broke the World No.2’s serve for the second time in this set to trail 2-3.
Simona came with an immediate response and broke her opponent’s serve for the third time in the set to lead 4-2. The two-time grand slam champion then clinched a game on her serve to extend her lead to 5-2. However, the fighting spirit of unseeded Krajcikova was to the fore as she managed to win the next three games, to level the score 5-5 in the second set.
Nevertheless, the Romanian put all her experience in the match and went on to take the next two games, thereby grabbing the second set 7-5 and forcing the match into the decider.
The decider followed the same pattern of first two sets as Barbora broke Halep’s serve in the very first game. The Czech then held her serve to go 2-0 up in the third and final set. However, there was no looking back for Simon as she once again displayed her champion side by taking six consecutive games to win the third set 6-2 and the match.
Lost the doubles
Yesterday, Simona Halep and her Czech partner Barbora Strykova lost in the Round of 16 of women’s doubles to the Russian pairing of Kudermetova and Pavlyuchenkova. They provided a tough fight to the Russians before eventually losing out 3-6, 6-3, 8-10.