2019 Madrid Open Semi-Finals: Simona Halep vs Belinda Bencic, Preview and Prediction
Third seed Simona Halep takes on a resurgent Belinda Bencic in the first semi-final of the Madrid Open women’s singles championship.
This will be their fourth encounter. Surprisingly, it is the Swiss star who has a 2-1 advantage in the head to head record against the Romanian. Their latest encounter was at this year’s Dubai Open quarter finals, where Bencic go the better of Halep in three sets.
However since that Dubai Open title followed by a semi-final appearance at Indian Wells, Bencic has not had the best of times. She has lost early in most of her tournaments since then. However, she seems to have rediscovered her fighting spirit and is once again on a giant-killing mission.
The latest high profile scalp to her credit is the world number one Naomi Osaka, whom Bencic defeated in three sets in the quarter-finals. However, she has struggled on serve in the tournament, failing to hold her serve thirteen times so far, including six times against Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second round.
Her opponent in the semi-final stage has had a much easier journey so far. She has won all her matches in straight sets, including the third round match against Viktoria Kuzmova whom she handed a rare double bagel.
However, like Bencic, though to a lesser extent, she too has had her fair share of struggles on her serve. In her quarter final match against Ashleigh Barty, she lost her serve twice though she managed to break Barty twice in crucuial moments to seal the game 7-5, 7-5. But a sorry looking 43 percent win on her second serve points against Barty means she has a lot to work on, before her semi-finals.
Both players are among the best returners of the game on the WTA tour. And neither has a particularly dominating service game. The match may eventually be decided by who serves better on the day.
Prediction: Simona Halep to win in Three SetsPublished 10 May 2019, 10:11 IST