Halep 7-5 6-1 Wang – Cahill’s pep-talk vital as Simona turned on the style

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!


Which ladies will star at Tennis Paradise?

Expect the unexpected at Indian Wells. Often described as the 5th Grand Slam this is always an opportunity to go big. 2018 celebrates 10 years since this tournament became a Premier Mandatory on the WTA tour and in the previous 9 tournaments there has only been one multiple champion that being Victoria Azarenka and oh yeah, she’ll be there!

The pressure is there for the top ranked players on the tour and it’s an equal pressure to do well and all will have an eye on the draw especially with Serena and Vika back in the mix.

Serena has arrived!

Serena has been on site for a few days. The 22 time Grand Slam champion who won Indian Wells in 2001 for the first and only time has been practicing as she posted on snapchat. Serena only returned a few years ago to Indian Wells along with sister Venus after the racist abuse they both suffered in 2001.

The crowds are going to flood in for the appearance of Serena back on a competitive tennis court and the support I imagine will be like something we have never seen before

Vika can play!

Part of the rules under the custody battle Victoria Azarenka has been in says she can’t leave California with her son Leo. However Indian Wells is in California so all noise suggests participation is likely. She won Indian Wells back in 2016 and I am surprised she has not opted to play the Indian Wells 125k event this week just to build up match fitness.

va sw

Battle for No.1

Two former champions. Wozniacki in 2011 and Halep in 2014 will battle for world number one once again but if you ask both I’m sure they’d rather take the title here in Indian Wells. Both have been playing some good tennis this season and I’d expect them to continue this here. Halep is back at world number one and with the way she has been playing with the intensity on court I’d say pressure is on her!

Eli and Garbine

Elina Svitolina and Garbine Muguruza are two to watch here. The heat could be an issue for them but watching Elina in Dubai I was really impressed with the way she composed herself on court on route to another title this year. I do feel that if both want to succeed her in Indian Wells they might need to be a bit more pro-active and on the front foot earlier.

Sharapova’s chances

Tennis moves on. I said this after her defeat to Kerber in Melbourne. Kerber was brutal and Sharapova was answerless. I question why there hasn’t been any changes to her game when she was banned as the game adapts and I don’t see her a contender here. I recently watched her play Monica Niculescu and I remember writing that it got unnecessarily messy very quickly and despite being a two time champion I can’t see her adding to her trophy cabinet here.


Halep’s had an incredible year so far and she is right to rest ahead of crucial months!

Over the last few months Simona Halep has played some of the best tennis of her career but now she has to be careful. She won in Shenzhen to begin the year and made the final of the Australian Open putting on some simply stunning performances but this foot won’t go away and now is the time to protect herself.

Halep is all surface type of player, she is dangerous wherever and the pressure does seem to be greater than it has ever been but she seems to be thriving off it.

Halep decided after her win against Bellis to withdraw from the competition as this foot/ankle is still bothering her which it was in Melbourne.

As Halep is in good form it’s easy to continue to try and play but she made the sensible decision looking at the bigger picture. Her withdrawal meant Garbine Muguruza received a walk-over into the final and she will also miss Dubai next week with all eyes set on Indian Wells where she is a former champion, Miami and of course Roland Garros but let’s not look too far ahead just yet!

I think Halep has made the right decision to rest, an important three tense months of the season are about to begin and to rest and head to Indian Wells early will do her no harm as she looks to continue her excellent season.



Simona Halep – a matter of when and not if she will win a Grand Slam!

Simona Halep has steel! This wasn’t always the case, the Romanian has always been a talented player but has sometimes lacked that mental steel in matches.

Frustration would sneak into her game and it’s one of the toughest things in tennis to get rid of but the easiest to affect your game and we saw that the ground strokes would break down but now Halep has that in her game and it’s a big credit to her.

Simona has been working with Darren Cahill for some time but they did have a split and before coming back to working together there must have been conversations about going forward things did get heated on the court and frustration was very visible.

I’ve always enjoyed watching Simona play tennis, her serve isn’t a big weapon but it still does the job. Her ground strokes and her movement are something to be admired. Watching her played the forehand and the angles she creates off it and the precision and steel behind her shots has improved so much!

I loved watching her in Melbourne and her performances so far this year are the best I have been from her in period of time. She saved multiple match points and fought hard with determination in matches even when things weren’t going her way and that is something where in the past it would have slipped away from her but she has that mental, physical and performance steel in her game now and despite not walking away with the title she will be back.


It may be three finals and three defeats for Halep in major finals now but she has improved a lot and now the challenge and of course pressure will be greater on her especially when Roland Garros comes around being a former finalist on two occasions!


A long wait but worth the wait! Caroline Wozniacki is a Grand Slam champion!

Finals don’t get bigger than this. Two ladies and a first Grand Slam on the line and of course world number one title but who would claim their first major at their third attempt?

The Dane started the match in complete control. One of the highlights of her game this week has been her aggression and improvement off the forehandΒ  was visible going after the Romanian’s serve and got the reward with an early break.

The nerves settled after for Halep who then played her next two service games without dropping a point really crushing the forehand and taking the ball early but still trailing 2-4.

One commentator describe Wozniacki as dialled in and well wasn’t she just?! She continued to flatten out the forehand and backhand so well and played an incredible point to go on to sealing a 5-2 lead but first signs of frustration from Halep who at 0-15 on the Wozniacki serve hit the second serve return straight into the net! 5-2.

Halep did her bit in the next game for 3-5 and over to Caro serving for the set. It got messy for the Dane falling 0-40 down on serve! A well constructed point and an ace got her to 30-40 but Halep forced the error and it was quickly back on serve 4-5… where next?!

Well, a love hold followed for Halep! 5-5…

The unpredictability of this match as another love hold this time for Wozniacki who to her credit re-grouped very quickly to edge ahead of 6-5 asking the question of Simona Halep once more.

Halep answered some tough questions from the Dane but held out for 6-6 taking the set to a tie-break!

Frustration for Halep immediately with Caro taking a 2-0 lead the first time we’ve seen aggression in quite some time from her! Another poor second serve return from Halep long gifting Wozniacki the point going up 3-1 and quickly 4-1!

Hustle from the Dane! The depth, the precision and a 5-2 lead for Wozniacki! Two points from the first set!

A solid serve set up four set points for the former world number one who took her first Grand Slam final set 7-6 (7-2)!

No first set hangover for Halep who needed a quick hold which she got and at 1-1, where would this one go now?

Well the tennis from these two ladies was exceptional and we saw the extent of that in the third game which went on and on finishing the Halep saving a massive four set points to lead 2-1, how big could that prove to be?

Slight distraction for the Dane up 40-0 failing to find her first serve at this point but at 40-30 another second serve Halep pounced on but sent long for the third time!

Concerns for Halep who despite holding for 3-2 had to call on the physio with the doctor and physio coming out on court taking her blood pressure with it being informed prior to this if a it were to go to a third set the heat rule would be implemented giving the players a 10 minute break.

The heat and humidity seemed to be taking it’s toll on Halep and once played resumed Wozniacki levelled up for 3-3. How much does Simona Halep have in the tank?

Wow what a turn around! Break points came and Halep took them to lead 5-3! Who saw this coming? The Romanian look’s like she can’t walk!

Well, break points came and gone and then on set point on an open court Halep sent iong but converted on the third attempt to take the set 6-3!

One set shootout…

Following the break the nerves took over and these ladies unsperable on court with Wozniacki leading 3-1 like in set one but pegged back again!

Another break of serve! Halep leading 4-3 with a fist-pump! Could she do it?!

Another twist as Wozniacki breaks back! 4-4. 8 games, 6 breaks! Where next??!

The nerves! 40-15 and Caro double faults… and a backhand into the net from Halep means Wozniacki is a game away from the title!

How are your nerves ladies?

Forehand into the net first point Wozniacki… 0-15

Forehand cross court, 15-15…

30-15, overrule…

Double fault 30-30 (Halep’s first)




The fight, the hard work, the determination, the knock backs, she has been through it all in her 811 career matches so far and she proves never give it up and keep up the hard work!









Wozniacki v Halep – World No.1 and a 1st Grand Slam on the line!

Almost two weeks ago 128 began now it is fitting that the final is between our world number one and world number two Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki.

For both it is a case of third time lucky. Nearly has never been enough for both of them having made two finals in their respective careers but have never won a Grand Slam and now one will and it is very unfortunate one won’t.

This year’s tournament has been all about belief and fight and in a time without some top names on the tour these ladies have proved time and time again what champions they are. I said it is unfortunate one won’t win but both have proven themselves as winners this fortnight in Melbourne saving match points to get to this stage.

Simona Halep has been magnificent. I have never seen a tournament where she has played better! Some times it is easy to get carried away with performances but she has been out of this world. Her whole game, movement and something that has been spoken about a lot this season is her mentality which has improved massively and we can look back two years and matches she won she would have lost and that is a massive improvement! Amazing as well that Simona hasn’t lost a match this year!

Caroline Wozniacki has also had an epic couple of weeks saving match points as well in an earlier. She has continued this momentum from her Singapore win last year and I’m so pleased to see her playing consistently well! Her game is very solid right now and it’s been a pleasure to watch her take control confidently but also not too confident where it can leak errors.

I can’t call this one at all. I want both to win but I am so looking forward to this match! If I had to chose then I’d chose Wozniacki to win it, it would be a big day for her and for tennis!



Australian Open Day 4 – Konta and Muguruza out! Halep cruises despite ankle concerns…

The ladies draw has opened up once again. Surprise defeats for Johanna Konta and Garbine Muguruza have opened up the top half whilst world number one Simona Halep has cruised through to round three but there are concerns on how far she can go.

How bad is this ankle?

Simona Halep has had it tough against Aiava and Bouchard but has played very well in the first two rounds but she admitted after the win against Bouchard that there is pain in the ankle which she was feeling but wasn’t thinking about it. This is a concern going forward for Halep on how much tennis she take on this ankle or is it a coping mechanism for being the world number one and pressure on her?


Jo and Garbine out!

Two shocks that don’t feel too much like a shot!

Garbine Muguruza who was struggling with injury before the tournament but she just seemed flat throughout the match and the frustration she got early on from being broken wouldn’t go away and she almost go defaulted after hitting a ball in frustration which almost hit an line umpire. Credit to Hsieh though who was solid from the baseline and asked the questions of the Spaniard which made her more frustrated.

Jo’s loss is a shame and a surprise but she just didn’t look comfortable. Even in the first set against Brengle in round one I said in a previous piece she seemed rushed and nervous and it’s obvious the confidence level compared to 12 months ago has dropped and I’m not too sure why, is it pressure added onto herself?