Fixture: (1) Simona Halep vs Irina-Camelia Begu
Date: 30 September 2020
Tournament: Roland Garros 2020
Round: Second round (Round of 64)
Venue: Paris, France
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: Approx. €38,000,000
Match timing: Approx. 5 pm CEST, 8.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - NBC / Tennis Channel | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Simona Halep vs Irina-Camelia Begu preview
Top seed Simona Halep faces familiar foe Irina-Camelia Begu in an all-Romanian second-round clash at the 2020 French Open on Wednesday.
Riding a 14-match winning streak, 2018 champion Simona Halep has arrived at Roland Garros this year as the favorite for the title. Her spectacular performances at Prague and Rome have left no doubt in anyone's mind that the World No. 2 is hungry and motivated to add a second crown in Paris.
However, the Romanian faced a brief challenge in the first round, with the cold conditions not being to her liking. A 2-4 deficit in the first set against World No. 70 Sara Sorribes Tormo set the alarm bells ringing, before the Wimbledon champion stormed back in style.
By rattling off the next 10 games for a 6-4, 6-0 victory, Halep not only booked her second-round spot but also made it a memorable 29th birthday.
Irina-Camelia Begu meanwhile is a veteran on the WTA tour, who reached a career-high ranking of No. 22 back in 2016 - the same year she reached the fourth round of the French Open. Currently languishing at the 73rd position, Begu's best showings this year have been at the lower-level Oracle Challenger Series and the ITF 100k event - both of which she won.
That said, Begu did get some good preparation on clay, reaching the semifinals of the Prague Open where she lost to none other than Simona Halep. The 30-year-old has brought that form to Roland Garros, showing the door to the fast-rising World No. 53 Jil Teichmann in the first round.
Simona Halep vs Irina-Camelia Begu head-to-head
Simona Halep has always had the upper hand in this rivalry, which is evident from her flawless 7-0 head-to-head record against Irina-Camelia Begu. The two-time Grand Slam champion has been so dominant that she has dropped only one set in their seven meetings.
Their first showdown happened at Bucharest in 2007, where a teenage Halep got the better of Begu 6-3, 6-4. Halep continued her mastery over Begu at the same tournament the following year.
Four years later they met once again, in Hobart, and the outcome was the same. In 2016 Begu finally managed to wrest a set off Halep at Madrid, but the younger Romanian was again back to her very best in a retirement win at Wuhan that same year.
Halep got her sixth and seventh wins over Begu at Shenzen in 2018 and at Prague earlier this year.
Simona Halep vs Irina-Camelia Begu prediction
Irina-Camelia Begu has a solid baseline game with the ability to hit down-the-line winners off both wings. That was something that troubled Simona Halep throughout the first set of their Prague Open semifinal clash.
Begu also managed to keep up her big hitting against Teichmann in her first match of the 2020 French Open, which saw her hammer 32 winners.
But even if Begu manages to briefly put Halep in a spot of bother, maintaining the pressure would be a tough task. Halep's lightning-fast footwork and her running down-the-line shots would likely help her break down the Begu game.
Having beaten her older compatriot seven times in the past, Halep knows exactly what to do in this matchup. That experience will help her a lot even if Begu provides some initial resistance.
Prediction: Simona Halep to win in straight sets.