Simona Halep continues to dig deep at the 2020 Prague Open. The top seed has once again eked out a come-from-behind win to advance to the last eight.
The Romanian star had talked about the physical toll that her opening encounter took on her in the first post-match interview. Playing on Thursday, she had to call for the trainer a few times in the match against Barbora Krejcikova, which went also over two hours.
Halep will have very little time to recover and gear up for her next match on Friday, where she faces 22-year-old surprise quarterfinalist Magdalena Frech.
The Polish youngster is playing in her first tour event quarterfinal, and will be the heavy underdog coming into this contest. She entered the main draw as a lucky loser, but has scored encouraging wins over the first few days of the tournament.
Much like Halep, both of Frech's wins have also came in tough three-set matches. The last eight match, however, will be a huge step up as the World No. 2 will be keen on getting her nerves settled for good.
Halep has opted for a more aggressive approach in her matches in Prague and while that's hasn't always worked, it is still a refreshing change. It will be up to Frech to find a way to shake things up and throw Halep off her game.
Simona Halep vs Magdalena Frech head-to-head
The two have never faced each other on tour, but their level of experience is vastly mismatched. Despite her underwhelming form this week, Halep will come into the match as the clear favorite.
Frech on her part will have to make use of the options available to her. She does enjoy playing on the clay and has incredible foot speed, which could work against a somewhat impatient-looking Halep.
If Frech can find a way to stay in rallies for long, the youngster might be able to push Halep past her breaking point.
Frech also made good use of drop shots in her first round match, which is a strategy that worked brilliantly against Halep in her first round as well. Polona Hercog caught Halep off guard regularly and hit about a dozen drop shot winners.
With concerns about fatigue and fitness plaguing the Romanian, that might just be the way forward here.
Simona Halep vs Magdalena Frech prediction
This should have been a simple match to call, but the element of surprise in a newcomer's game and Halep's own form might give Frech the slightest bit of hope.
If the 22-year-old can find a way to keep Halep on her toes and mix up her own game well, she could make life difficult for the World No. 2. Halep has had to work hard for her wins all week, and this one seems to be heading toward another three-setter.
Prediction: Simona Halep to win in three sets.
Tournament: Prague Open 2020
Venue: Prague, Czech Republic
Category: WTA International
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: $225,000
Match timing: 3 pm CEST, 6.30 pm IST