Halep as seen by Ruzici

Friday, June 6, 2014
By Baptiste Blanchet

1978 French Open champion Virginia Ruzici is not surprised by compatriot Simona Halep’s breakthrough here.

Her path to the final
“I have seen Simona grow up and have watched as she has steadily improved her game. In 2013, she won six titles which was amazing! What she is doing this year is even more impressive. Towards the end of last year, I began to believe that she could win the French Open one day. Whether or not she wins it this year, next year or later on, only time will tell!”
Her game

“Her footwork and her ability to recover caught my eye six years ago when she won the junior tournament here. She moves beautifully and effortlessly. Simona’s court coverage is almost perfect. In the beginning, it seemed like she would be more of a defensive player but she has become much more aggressive now that she has gained confidence in herself. I would call her more of a counter-puncher now.”


Her technique
“She can do it all! I think her strokes are very clean. Her backhand, whether she takes it down-the-line or cross-court, reminds me of Novak Djokovic’s two-hander. With time, she’ll have to come to the net more often because she’s a good volleyer and can use drop shots and slice…”

The final against Sharapova
“Her second service could get her into trouble. She’ll have to get a high percentage of first services in to keep her out of danger because Sharapova has a really aggressive return of service. It will be important for Simona to hold her ground and move forward. Simona saw where she stacks up against Maria in the Madrid final this year, where she took the first set 6-1 (before falling 1-6, 6-2, 6-3).”

Mental toughness
“I think Simona has been very nervous throughout the tournament. Nevertheless, she has been able to manage her emotions and win all her matches in straight sets. I think that in the final she’ll be more relaxed because she has nothing to lose against such an impressive champion like Sharapova, who has already won the French Open. I think Simona will be much more relaxed than in her previous matches.”

Halep Highlights:

Solid serving through the semifinals – she saved 22 of the 32 break points she faced
Return of serve is dominant – winning 50% returning 1st serves – 66% returning 2nd serves – has won 31 of 51 return games played (61%) – that’s equivalent of letting her opponent serve every game and still winning each set 6-4
More total winners than unforced errors – has won almost 60% of her baseline points – has not lost a set – dropped only 30 games in 12 sets



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