It’s quite remarkable to think that it has been almost 3 years since Simona Halep made it to a major final but how can the Romanian make it there again and maybe go one step further?
Momentum plays a big part, it is difficult to turn up to a major tournament and steamroll past opponents without that confidence and momentum with results but also in the game and that is where I think the struggle lies at the moment and it comes down to net clearance.
Halep’s game is based on being big from the baseline, the backhand is a strong weapon and so is the forehand but the net clearance is massive at the moment and it shouldn’t be, there has be an element of risk and maybe a lack of confidence leads you to try and clear the net more but ends up playing a slow shot with little depth which quickly puts the opponent in charge. So let’s take a look!
I’ve put this together with the forehand of Halep in mind, when she is inside the baseline and pushing at her opponents defence she looks for that inside out but there is a difference with penetrating your opponent’s defence or just playing a rally. The yellow arrow shows a low forehand just getting over the net which has an element of risk to it but when confidence is high those shots come off whereas the red line shows what we have been seeing a lot of lately, high net clearance which means a slower ball giving the opponent time.
Before you can even start to talk about consistency by winning 6 or 7 matches in a row consistency in matches is key as well and can sometimes be a bit up and down at the moment during matches whether it’s a slow start followed by a big run up and then a slump again even in matches she has won over the last 6 months there is still that up and down rhythm in the match which against the very best costs you as we saw in Singapore.
Going forward I think maybe playing smaller tournaments would be beneficial to getting that momentum again it worked for her in 2014 when she won title after title on the tour and helped her with that momentum to get to the final of Roland Garros.
I think there is an opportunity for her, and coming into the clay court season and the grass follows is a good chance to really push forward now and I do think playing a couple of smaller tournaments is key to getting that swagger back.