Halep eases past Nara in Wimbledon opener
Simona Halep made a bright start at Wimbledon on Tuesday with a comprehensive 6-2 6-4 victory over Kurumi Nara on Centre Court.
The French Open champion enjoyed 10 days off after her Paris triumph and she made a tentative start on the grass before eventually finding her rhythm.
Halep was made to work harder than some might have expected by her Japanese opponent, Nara enjoying some brief success as she attacked the world number one.
It was all too brief, though, as Halep quickly wrestled back control of proceedings, her punishing forehand proving too hot to handle at times for Nara.
Halep reeled off six games in a row to begin her progression into round two, seeing off a second-set resurgence from Nara, whose overhit forehand ended the contest.
Nara found herself under pressure immediately as Halep broke first up, however Nara managed to get level at 2-2 as a beautiful drop shot at the net was backed up by a forehand into the corner.
However, unforced errors blighted her progress as comfortable-looking shots sailed beyond the lines, gifting Halep free points.
As Halep's confidence grew her game found another gear, the Romanian's movement around the court a joy to watch for the crowds packed into SW19's show court.
Having wrapped up the opening set thanks to a tired backhand from Nara, Halep stepped on the gas again and quickly established a 2-0 lead, her control from the baseline coming from more powerful forehands.
A sloppy shot into the net ended Halep's run in the third game, and Nara was then unable to capitalise after forcing the Romanian to two break points at 2-1.
Now into her stride, Halep made sure to make her opponent pay, serving well to maintain her lead, with Nara's overpowered forehand shot securing the world number one's passage to the second round.
Halep  bt Nara 6-2 6-4
Halep – 19/22
Nara – 8/15
Halep – 2/1
Nara – 0/2
BREAK POINTS WON
Halep – 4
Nara – 1
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Halep – 70
Nara – 62
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Halep – 69/59
Nara – 59/44
Halep – 68
Nara – 54