Thursday, 22 January 2015

Simona Sensational

The late late match on Rod Laver Arena featured world number three and 2014 French Open finalist Simona Halep against Australian Jarmila Gajdosova.  Both impressed in first round matches, but Halep was heavily favoured to prevail here, already a winner in China earlier in the month.

Thanks to the schedulers who don't give a stuff about women's tennis, the match began extremely late - it is OK for Rafa, Lleyton and Roger to play their matches at a prescribed time but let's just keep the girls waiting because they don't rate.  It is logical to play a best of three set match first (as used to be the case) because the start time for the second match will normally be earlier as a consequence, but clearly logic doesn't play a part here.

Simona was out of the blocks quickly, breaking the Gajdosova serve thanks largely to a few nervous errors from the Aussie, and then finding her range with silky smooth ground strokes which forced Jarmila into problems.  2-0 and the initial paragraph of the writing on the wall.

Game three gave Jarmila a spark as she put a score on the board for the loss of no points.  We then lingered long over the fourth game in which Simona was in trouble 0-30 due to backhand beauty from Gajdosova.  3 deuces and a break point save later, 3-1 was the score line.

Backhand winners and errors dominated the fifth game and it was Halep who chose the correct moments to apply the better shots, breaking the Australian serve again and virtually parcelling up the first set.

5-1 followed with Halep bookmarking her game with a double fault and an ace, fortunately each at the right ends of the game.  Jarmila soldiered on, actually serving quite well despite the score, and meeting Halep in rallies competitively.  She forced the Romanian to serve for the set and this Simona did successfully, but not until being taken to 30-30 through some excellent forehands from Jarmila.

6-2 and the task half completed.

Gajdosova's forehand maintained its potency in the first game of set 2 and she held to lead 1-0.  Halep played a good first set but her second set was even better. After doing enough to level at 1-1 she ripped into her opponent with some sizzling shots to break in the third game, hardly making a mistake.

At 1-3 Jarmila still played reasonably but even her very best would most likely not have troubled an in form Halep.  Serves were held respectively and 2-4 displayed.

At 40-15 there was still a hope for the Australian, but a double fault cleared the way for Halep to come back, achieve the break with a backhand winner and give herself the chance to serve for the match.

15-30 thanks to a great Gajdosova shot was given a two ace response from Halep and her winning backhand was the final shot of the night.

6-2 6-2 to Simona Halep, a real threat to win this years championship.

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