Fixture: (3) Simona Halep vs Sara Sorribes Tormo
Date: 30 April 2021
Tournament: Mutua Madrid Open 2021
Round: First round (Round of 64)
Venue: Madrid, Spain
Category: WTA 1000
Prize money: €2,549,105
Match timing: Approx. 3 pm local time, 6.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Eurosport
Simona Halep vs Sara Sorribes Tormo preview
Halep's first outing on clay this year ended in the semifinals at Stuttgart last week. Despite making a good start to the event, with wins over Marketa Vondrousova and Ekaterina Alexandrova, the Romanian had no answer to Aryna Sabalenka's power game in the last four.
After a few days of rest, Halep will look to put that setback behind and make a fresh start at Madrid — a tournament where she has reached the final on four occasions. And standing between the World No. 3 and the second round is a familiar opponent in Sara Sorribes Tormo.
After making the quarterfinals at Ostrava (from the qualifying stages) in 2020, Sorribes Tormo has carried her momentum into the new year. The Spaniard has put together a consistent season, the biggest highlight of which is her maiden WTA title at Guadalajara.
Sorribes Tormo has also made the semifinals at Monterrey and the quarterfinals at both Miami and Abu Dhabi, in what has been a breakthrough 2021 so far.
However, her first match on clay was a dampener. The 24-year-old fell to former French Open runner-up Sara Errani 5-7, 5-7 in the first round at Copa Solsanitas.
Simona Halep vs Sara Sorribes Tormo head-to-head
Simona Halep has a 1-0 lead over Sara Sorribes Tormo in the head-to-head. Halep crushed the Spaniard 6-4, 6-0 in the first round of the 2020 French Open.
Simona Halep vs Sara Sorribes Tormo prediction
Seven months after meeting in the first round of the French Open, Simona Halep and Sara Sorribes Tormo will be locking horns again in the first round of the Madrid Open. But the big difference is that Sorribes Tormo has become a hugely improved player in the intervening period.
The Spaniard has been playing with a lot of confidence lately, which is evident from her wins over Jennifer Brady, Elena Rybakina and Ons Jabeur at Miami. She now packs quite a punch with her topspin forehand, and is not afraid to move forward when the opportunity arises.
However, one area that still remains vulnerable is the serve. And that is where Halep will look to pounce during their upcoming face-off in Madrid.
The Romanian's solid return game will come in very handy against Sorribes Tormo. Halep's speed and defense will also likely trouble the Spaniard, who doesn't have the most powerful groundstrokes.
Once Halep gets into a rhythm and starts hitting with depth, she will be hard to stop.
Prediction: Simona Halep to win in two tight sets.