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“I feel great,” Simona Halep discloses her delight as she wins her first-ever match against a 2nd ranked WTA player on clay

Simona Halep, who is playing in her 11th main-draw match at the Madrid Open, has won her 29th main-draw victory in the Spanish city.

Simona Halep

Simona Halep, a four-time Mutua Madrid Open finalist, advanced to the third round of the 2022 edition with a 6-3 6-1 triumph over home favourite Paula Badosa. In Saturday’s high-profile second-round match, the 2016 and 2017 Madrid champion Halep saved six of seven breakpoints and converted five of ten breakpoints. Halep, the world No. 21, won her first-ever match against a second-ranked WTA player on clay, while Badosa will lose her career-high ranking in the new rankings, as she needed to reach the semifinals to keep her position.

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Halep, who is playing in her 11th main-draw match at the Madrid Open, has won her 29th main-draw victory in the Spanish city. The Australian Open and Roland Garros, with 31 match wins each, are the only two tournaments where the Romanian has won more matches in her career.

“I’m just focusing on getting better and getting stronger”- Simona Halep

Simona Halep

Halep got off to a flying start, breaking on her first break point with a strong forehand winner in the first game. Paula Badosa fought back in the fourth set with stronger groundstrokes, and she was able to convert her third breakpoint to get back on serve when Halep shot long. Halep, on the other hand, maintained dominance on her first serve, going a break ahead to take a 4-3 lead before winning the following two games.

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Badosa requested a medical timeout after Simona Halep took a 3-0 lead due to an issue with her right shoulder. When the play restarted, Halep took advantage of another unforced blunder by Badosa to move the former world number one within two games of the second round, before winning two of the next three games handily.

“I feel great, I felt I was playing some good tennis and I’m really happy about it,” Halep said after her best ranking win on clay. “She is very good at this moment. She is number two in the world so it’s just confidence. She was playing great but I believed I had my chance so I gave everything I had.”

“It’s a pleasure and an honour to have Patrick in my box as a coach. We are working very hard on some things and as I see I am playing very well every match. I’m just focusing on getting better and getting stronger,” the former World No.1 concluded.

Also Read: ‘Anxiety and Stress?’ Simona Halep reveals why players nowadays cannot be ‘consistent’

Hailing from the City of Joy, Pritha is a tennis writer at FirstSportz. Being an avid fanatic of Steffi Graf and Rafael Nadal, she is currently looking forward to learning more and thriving further in the field. Besides tennis, she fancies football and NBA and is a die-hard Liverpool fan. Currently, she is pursuing her Bachelor's in Botany from the University of Calcutta.