Halep survives early scare to dispatch Riske
Simona Halep produced a 'Jekyll and Hyde' performance in her opening match at the French Open as she battled back to dispatch Alison Riske 2-6 6-1 6-1 on Wednesday.
The world number one looked in good form as she reached the final in Rome last weekend but early on she was a shadow of her former self.
Riske took full advantage to dominate the opening set, Halep making 16 unforced errors in a woeful start to the grand slam.
A change of racket in-between the first two sets – and presumably a good talking to – finally kicked Halep into gear, and she came storming back to complete a hard-earned victory.
Halep had to battle from the outset as Riske controlled the rallies on Court Philippe Chatrier, her forehand a particularly dangerous weapon that her illustrious opponent had no answer to.
Mistakes from the Romanian quickly began to rack up, weak volleys into the net and wayward backhands leaving Halep taking out her anger on her racket.
Despite avoiding the bagel, Halep sent another backhand long to leave Riske punching the air in celebration. However, her delight would be brief.
With a new piece of equipment in her hand Halep was a changed woman, her movement much better, her shot selection drastically improved and the lines peppered.
In the blink of an eye Halep was leading the second set 5-0 as the tables quickly turned, Riske's previously confident display all but disappearing as Halep's trademark intensity finally came to the fore.
Confidence – and parity - restored, two-time runner-up Halep marched into a second-round meeting with Taylor Townsend, the deciding set a mere formality for the world's top player.
Halep  bt Riske 2-6 6-1 6-1
Halep – 20/28
Riske – 17/33
Halep – 0/1
Riske – 1/3
BREAK POINTS WON
Halep – 7/11
Riske – 4/7
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Halep – 53
Riske – 60
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Halep – 68/45
Riske – 45/34
Halep – 80
Riske – 57