Form over ranking any day of the week. Simona Halep has suffered an early ‘shock’ defeat to Kristina Mladenovic but in all honesty it wasn’t a surprise. This was just Halep’s sixth match of the year compared to Mladenovic’ who will next round be playing her 20th and has one a title this year but if we learned anything Halep has big work to do but where and is change the best way forward?
When Halep is feeling it then this shot is on, she wants to use the forehand as much as possible but I wouldn’t say she is over reliant on it. Returning serve I think she did a good job in the match, she was looking for the forehand a lot and she got it in play but her game lacked any bite.
You can see from the still that Halep was ready for the forehand. Kiki would go big out-wide or that kick down the T and because the kick sometimes lacked power Halep could run around to hit the forehand and the one in particular she looked for was that forehand down the line into the backhand corner of Mladenovic which she worked well a few times allowing her to step up the court which is what I want to see more of and maybe change her tactics?
More net, less baseline?
Halep is a hustler, we al know how good she is defending but sometimes you can camp too much behind the baseline and it keeps you in rallies for a longer time but there are and have been too many times it delay’s the inevitable. She will continue to come up with stunning winners from impossible angles that is a natural part of her game but maybe a more offensive approach is suited?
Halep can create angles going forward off the backhand and forehand and there were times in the match I thought to myself, go forward and put Mladenovic under pressure. Kiki’s main threat is on the baseline with time, take that time away and it rushes opponents into errors.
This loss can’t just be put down to lack of matches this year because it is a theme we’ve seen a lot of against strong baseline players over the last year or so, so could adapting her game work out better in the long run?