Roland Garros: Relaxed Halep is a strong contender for the title

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Paris (AFP)

Romanian Simona Halep is running the Roland Garros Grand Championship in tennis, which is the highest ranking among women, in light of the withdrawal of Australian Ashley Barty, the first in the world due to the repercussions of the new Corona virus and the injured Japanese, Naomi Osaka.

American Serena Williams cannot be excluded from expectations, as the veteran is trying to win her 24th title in major tournaments and equal the record. It is true that Roland Garros is the least Serena crowned in the major tournaments, but she lifted the title in Paris in 2002, 2013 and 2015.

Spain’s Garpigny Mogorosa, who beat Serena in the 2016 final, is another contender for the title, while Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, the former world number one, has returned to her levels and reached the final of Flushing Meadows, where she lost to Osaka.

After achieving the surprise of last season by reaching the final match, Czech Markita Vondrochova is seeking to climb the rounds again, after recovering her level in the past two weeks and reaching the semi-finals of the Italian Rome Championship, where she lost to her compatriot Karolina Pleshkova, seeded second in Roland Garros.

Pleshkova withdrew after that from the Rome final against Halep after suffering an injury to her left thigh, after losing the first set, so the Romanian raised her tally to 14 successive wins, winning her second title after returning from Corona stone.

Pleshkova believes that Halep is the front-runner in Paris, in a tournament scheduled for the spring, which was postponed due to the outbreak of the “Covid-19” virus: “I think she will be the (most prominent) candidate among the women, because of the way she is currently playing, she played too. In Prague (I won the title) on dirt. ”

“I feel confident. Of course it will be dangerous … I know the weather will not be great in Paris, so the odds will be difficult to play a fierce match against her,” she added.

“For Roland Garros to play in September, the end of September, it’s kind of strange,” Halep said Friday.

– Return of works –

Halep, who also won the Dubai tournament title before the yellow ball competition was suspended five months ago, worked to raise her physical preparedness, but considered that the global health crisis cast a heavy shadow on the tennis world.

She told WTA Insider: “I’m getting more mature, I think so. The pandemic has put me in a dream place. I’m relaxing more, because I’ve noticed that the most difficult things are not in sports but in life.”

No player has managed to retain her title since the Belgian Justin Inan (crowned between 2005 and 2007), and this matter will be repeated in the absence of the crowned Barty in 2019, who was forced by Corona to withdraw from Flushing Meadows and Roland Garros.

As for Osaka, who has won three major tournaments, most recently in New York, she suffered a muscle injury in her thigh, while Canadian Bianca Andriescu, champion in Flushing Meadows 2019, was also absent. Andriesco has not played any match since last October when she suffered a knee injury in the WTA tournament. Season closing.

Despite these absences, the list of entries includes some advantages compared to Flushing Meadows, such as the Ukrainian Elena Svitolina III, the Dutch Kiki Brentens and the Swiss, Belinda Bencic.

“As I always said, many of the players in the top 10 or 15 places have a chance to win the title in a major tournament,” Halep said.

“Roland Garros is very open, because she is on dirt ground but a little faster, so whoever has strong hits can easily win her title,” she added.

The Romanian has 20 wins and only two losses this season against Belarusian Arena Sabalenka in Adelaide and Mugorosa in the Australian Open semi-finals, and has not fallen since January.

But she added, “I cannot think of winning the title at Roland Garros, because the tournament has not started yet. But I will give my all. I will dream about it of course.”

As for Williams, who turns 39 on Saturday, she has not boosted her balance in major tournaments since her coronation in Australia in 2017 when she was pregnant with her baby daughter, Olympia.

Logically, she is running her last tournaments on the world stage, as her hopes diminish more and more by equaling the number of Australian Margaret Court, knowing that she has reached the semi-finals of Flushing Meadows, where she went out against Azarnca.

Serena withdrew last week from the Rome Games due to her Achilles tendon injury, which means that she will play Roland Garros without participating in any tournament on the soil this year.





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