WTA Cincinnati, Semi-Final Preview: Simona Halep v Jelena Jankovic

Simona HalepFor the second consecutive week, Simona Halep and Jelena Jankovic will play each other on the WTA tour… but this time it’s in a semi-final. I’m bowled over by Halep’s efforts this week. The Romanian player, who will seal the number two seed at the US Open with a win here, played five matches last week in Toronto. She retired in the third set of the final against Belinda Bencic. Just three days later, she was back on the tennis court in Cincy and is still going. Her first two matches were lengthy and drawn-out three setters; in the second round, she finally put away Kristina Mladenovic, 7-5 5-7 6-4, having had chances to win in straight sets and then, in a much higher quality match, came from a set down to defeat Andrea Petkovic, 4-6 6-4 6-2.

In the quarter-finals, Halep came from a break down in the first set to take it on the tiebreak before securing her first straight sets win of the tournament, a 7-6(3) 6-2 victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Jankovic’s route through the draw has been equally eventful; in the third round she was one point away from being on the plane after she produced a pretty miraculous comeback to win the last five games against Karolina Pliskova, 6-2 3-6 7-5. Jankovic also lost a set to Madison Brengle in the first round and then recovered a 3-5 first set deficit against Madison Keys before winning in straights. In the quarters, Jankovic had her most straightforward result on paper with a 6-4 6-2 victory over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

Halep leads the head-to-head with Jankovic, 5-1. Their match last week in Toronto was the first one that ended in straight sets with Halep delivering an accomplished performance to win, 6-3 6-3. Halep dominated the match from start to finish, continually keeping Jankovic pinned at the back of the court with some precise hitting and beautiful angles. Halep is bound to be knackered and there will be an opportunity for Jankovic here. The Serb has always produced excellent results in Cincy and this is her fourth appearance in the semi-finals. She’s such a treat in press…

Although Jankovic will the fresher of the pair, she can easily go on a mental walkabout… I could see her getting into a winning position but not being able to close the match out like in Indian Wells where Halep battled back. I’d take Halep in three sets but this could be the one where her body finally says I need a break! I can’t believe Halep hasn’t withdrawn from New Haven yet because she’d mad to play there…

Photo in this post by Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

9 thoughts on “WTA Cincinnati, Semi-Final Preview: Simona Halep v Jelena Jankovic

  1. Halep needs to win here in straight sets,she cannot play defensive tennis,otherwise JJ will make her pay,just like in the match JJ v Pliskova.If Halep makes the final,which I think she will,she needs to take a break before the USO,even if she loses she needs a break before the last major of the year.


    • I agree. I’m really impressed by how well Halep has performed the last two weeks though as I thought these courts would be too quick for her.


  2. I think Halep is toughing out this win because she could be number 2 seed in Flushing meadows which is an advantage as Serena is on a mission!! Can I just say I’m suuuuper excited about the US open!? really can’t wait!!! I’ve never been the biggest fan of Serena but I want her to make history because she is arguably the GOAT and I feel like if she is not completing the real grand slam she will always be compared with Steffi and it would be the needle in her flawless career!


    • Sharapova may not even play flushing meadows at this point, but I agree that it could be what Halep is hoping for. I’m sure she’d like to avoid her group at the tour finals also.


      • Yeah, don’t see Maria playing either which would be a pity. She hasn’t played a competitive match since Wimbledon.


    • IMO, she is already beyond Steffi. Some of Steffi’s accolades are in a sense oddities. Like winning the slams and Olympics in tandem cause Olympics comes but once in four years. Those records she can keep. Just consider her age and what she has achieved in the past year, its exceptional. And the very fact that she has proved herself to be proficient in the doubles and mixed doubles too is just the icing on someone’s chocolate cake that’s baking( please save some for the bloggers too, James). In doubles you have to temper your personal ambitions with the tenets of team work. I think Navratilova is actually the yardstick… But, in context, Steffi Graf is no less a great player. After certain levels of accomplishments, comparisons become trivial, and you have to nitpick to distinguish one from the other.


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