WTA Apia International Sydney, 2nd Round Preview: Simona Halep v Caroline Garcia



Once again, Simona Halep is set to play her first match of 2016; after pulling out of the Brisbane International last week with an achilles injury, the world number two will now play Caroline Garcia in Sydney.

In an all-French first rounder, Garcia edged past her doubles partner, Kristina Mladenovic in a tight two setter, 7-6(4) 6-4. It was a close match but in the end, the key difference was that Garcia served better in the important moments. Mladenovic failed to serve out the first set at *5-4 and played a poor tiebreak, losing multiple points after a missed volley. She narrowed the deficit but Garcia still came through to win the first set tiebreak. Garcia has struggled to close out matches before but after a succession of breaks midway through the second serve, served out the match with an ace. Garcia has made a bright start to the year having won all three of her singles matches at the Hopman Cup, defeating Heather Watson (6-3 5-7 6-3), Sabine Lisicki (6-2 7-6(5)) and Daria Gavrilova (6-4 7-6(7)).

Head-to-head record: The pair have never played each other before on the WTA tour.

Interesting stat: In singles matches (including the Hopman Cup), Garcia has actually won her last nine matches. At the end of 2015 in November, Garcia won the $125k event in Limoges.

Analysis: As openers go, this is a tough match-up for Halep. Garcia is all about confidence and she’s toughed out a number of tight sets at the start of 2016. A fully fit Halep wins this, but i’m concerned about the achilles injury. Furthermore, coming in cold, she will be at a disadvantage playing against an aggressive opponent who will give her little rhythm. Halep has overcome injury concerns before to go on dazzling draw runs, but i’d fancy Garcia to have a fair shot at the upset if she doesn’t overthink matters… by no means, a foregone conclusion!

Prediction: Garcia d. Halep in 2 sets (or retirement)

Photo in this post by mootennis.com

20 thoughts on “WTA Apia International Sydney, 2nd Round Preview: Simona Halep v Caroline Garcia

  1. James the weather forecast for Sydney is for a much hotter day tomorrow than it was today,when the WTA Heat Rule had to be enforced in the Angie v Elina match.I am also leaning towards Garcia,I will be live and hopefully not melting for this match up:)


  2. Hello everybody.
    It is very true that Simona seems often have physical problems.
    I think she is very thoughtful with her body, maybe over a normal limit.
    I hope Simona will play tomorrow, and I hope she will be in a good shape.
    There were too much words, too much rumours and no tennis.
    Simona is in my heart , but I have to be objective and I have to say she will have a very tough match tomorrow.
    A very good analysis, James, Good luck!



  3. Thank goodness for the cool change at Apia in the afternoon:)

    Kerber retired with gastro bug,also Daria retired with a muscle tear in her abs.


  4. I am watching the match live between Garcia and Halep,you know the one thing I wish for is that Garcia gets a proper coach,not her father,to take her to the next level.Garcia has soo much potential,I love watching her play.Halep appears okay in the first set,her movement is fine so far.


  5. Well done to Halep defeated Garcia in 3 sets,Halep to me was strong especially in that 3rd set.Garcia had chances,just could not consolidate them.Well done Halep!


  6. i really thought Garcia could make an upset here,especially after i saw Halep cleary in pain but number 2 was ruthless in the third set,very clean and amazing shots she pull today.if she doesn‘t retire,her quarter with Pliskova will be a treat:)


  7. Very good win in the circumstances. Well done, Simona! I hope that she manages this injury well in the next few weeks. Think long-term, Simona!


      • She does this. When she’s in pain she goes very aggressive to try and shorten the points. And it often pays off because she’s a great shot-maker and generally very accurate too. The same happened for a large part of the 2nd set vs Bencic in the Toronto final when she was suffering with the heat. She hit some stupendous winners then off the 2nd, 3rd or 4th ball.
        The wonder is why she doesn’t try to do it all/most the time. Does she just find it too taxing to play like that all the time? I don’t know.


      • That aggressive style of play is not her default mood. It is a tactical decision to play that way, fortunately she has very good technical talent, so it seems to contain her aggression pretty well. If her current coach is able to make this her second nature she would become a dangerous player. That is if she isn’t already.
        Reminds me of the second coming of Kim Clijsters, when she moved away from being a hard working retriever/counter puncher to a more aggressive all rounder. A bit like Azarenka.

        It reminds me of the one time Caroline played an amazing aggressive game in Doha or Qatar it was circa 2010 or 2011. It was when she professed her love for Liverpool FC and wore their Jersey. She had a fever or similar illness in during the tournament/final. It was like unlocking some cheat code for a player in a video game. Totally different girl.


  8. Garcia is still to be someone on my list. She makes good shots but is mentally so far behind that she is non existent. She makes a good shot and then stands thinking the point is over, this is not very smart against somebody like Halep or any of the top 10 players. Halep at her average would have swatted her aside in two very easy sets. She doesnt have enough matches so it went to three sets.
    Just hitting marvelous looking shots is not enough and somebody needs to tell this to Garcia.


    • A bit harsh on Garcia but perhaps fair! Just watched the match back and I thought Garcia did alright, better than some of her matches I watched last year. Halep was too good in the third set. She’s got a long way to go but I haven’t lost hope just yet that she can keep improving.


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