For the first time this year Simona Halep has won back to back matches. The world number five has struggled to find momentum this year but in Miami she has started to find some form and was very impressive against Anett Kontaveit last night.
6-3 6-0 is a pretty routine score-line but during the first seven games of the match it was very close and Anett was producing some stunning shots off the forehand and backhand wing but Halep became more stubborn as the match went on and it was like playing against a brick wall which is the Halep we want to see!
Watching the match I have to say it was refreshing to see Halep play well, she is one of my favourite players but lacks that consistency at the moment. Everything was working incredibly well, the serve down the T was near perfection and the variety on the forehand creating unheard of angles was impressive but despite a small percentage of shots played on the backhand this impressed me.
I was watching, thinking why isn’t Halep using the backhand more? Was there a lack of trust in the shot? It has been a shot which can be off, it’s a risky shot because of how flat she hits the ball but when she used it (rarely) it worked well.
You can see the body position she takes up at this point, she is crouched down on the court looking to pick it up and it can be a devastating shot, now look at the image on the right this is where the backhand can break down.
The ball is central and it’s now relying on Halep to be instinctive in a mini-second. She has great instinct but when it comes fast down the middle of the court there isn’t time to adjust the body to hit a clean shot so you can see in her footwork she is on the back foot and just throwing it back into court.
This isn’t bad as she did go onto win the point but it can against better players be a problem.
Overall it was a very good performance, you can see Halep thought so with numerous fist pumps and her game was on point, she took the ball early took time away from Kontaveit and asked her the question, can you break me down? Unfortunately for Anett she had no reply.