Coming into the Australian Open I said that Simona Halep would be seen as a favourite depending on how she grows in early rounds.
Some of the tennis that came off the racket of the Romanian was explosive and dominating. As impressive as the results were going into the semi-finals there was a problem, she hadn’t had a test.
7-6 6-1 v Brady
6-2 6-4 v Dart
6-1 6-4 v Putintseva
6-4 6-4 v Mertens
6-1 6-1 v Kontaveit
Simona Halep was the last player in the tournament not to drop a set of tennis and you can look at that in two different ways. Very good tennis from Halep but also a lack of a challenge.
I’m not saying for one moment that Simona Halep would have beaten Muguruza if she’d have dropped some sets of tennis but she wasn’t tested until the business end. This end of the tournament is where you need to bring your best and have those earlier thoughts figured out.
Halep didn’t have that challenge and it isn’t necessarily her fault at all. People like to complain about draws and players having easy or tough routes but you can only play who is in-front of you.
In her semi-final against Muguruza the Spaniard had better preparation to deal with problem areas in her game. She didn’t really let Halep step in and that was something Muguruza allowed over other opponents to do at times was to move up the court.
All throughout the tournament we saw Halep move in and run to that forehand but Muguruza’s tactics were greater and more effective. She had been tested so knew what worked and what didn’t.
It was slightly predictable from Halep and that comes from not being tested or moved about. Majority of the time she tried to go for that forehand and it was soo good to watch but where was the backhand and net play? She didn’t have it but Muguruza had the answers to any question thrown at her.