After a shaky performance against Caroline Dolehide in the previous round you wouldn’t have blamed Simona Halep for being nervous and you could see the panic in her game from the first ball desperate for a good start.
The first four games of the match went with serve, the following four were all breaks of serve and you could see the panic and rushed game Simona was forcing and that was the issue she was trying to force it.
At 4-4 in the first set Simona called on coach Darren Cahill who gave a masterclass!
He sat down and said;
“what are you thinking?”
Halep replied “just tell me how to play”
This was the frustration from the first 8 games and something we saw a lot of at the beginning of the last year before their temporary split and he controlled this exchange perfectly.
To the point Darren said “Your the one making all the unforced errors”
That got a reaction from the world number one and the Australian coach then gave great advice.
He asked her why she was just going for it and not working the ball. He said the shots are there but your just going for it, work it, work her and begin to dominate.
What followed was a complete turn-around!
To Simona’s credit she took it on board and it did take a few games to lose that frustration but immediately you saw her working the ball and like I said credit to her and also Darren for that exchange during the on-court coaching session.
In the second set she was scarily good, she just went for it by working the wall and when she’s able to pick the forehand down the line and add top spin cross court forcing you wide she means business and that performance was an announcement to the rest of the field that she has turned up!