Simona Halep faces wild card in Australian Open first round

Annette Crawford
January 13, 2018

Halep has been quite consistent in 2017 but she has not yet won a single Grand Slam and the closest she reached was the French Open final where the unseeded Jelena Ostapenko trumped her.

At the bottom of the quarter - Caroline Garcia, who impressed many at the WTA Finals retired in her opener in tears with a lower back spasm, and would potentially come up against Madison Keys in the fourth round, or Kristina Mladenovic, although her compatriot's form has been a mess since the middle of previous year.

"I have one more goal: to win a grand slam", the Romanian 26-year-old told reporters at Melbourne Park on Saturday.

"I think nothing very drastic, but at the same time it's small improvements all the time. You're never ideal. There's always things you can work on".

"I don't feel pressure, I feel OK, I feel fit, I feel ready". It's just the same, you know.

It was the second successive year of being knocked out at the first hurdle, reinforcing a reputation of mental fragility at the biggest tournaments. I can say I started the year better.

"We'll see on court what is going to happen".

"I never look at the draw". For me, it's all about just focusing on myself, taking it one match at a time. There's always so many great players in the draw.

"Both have a lot of scar tissue, so they have to be able to overcome what has gone before and know they can turn the tables - both are capable of winning their first major and it would be a really positive global win if one of them can do it". "Then we focus from there".

The two-time Grand Slam finalist is determined to avoid repeating first round exits in the past two seasons at Melbourne Park, but won't feel burdened by her ranking superiority. I'm not going to lie - first tournament back, two matches (in a row).

Simona Halep could not have asked for a better start to the year having scooped the title in Shenzhen at the start of the season. She hasn't done that well in the Australian Open in recent years, but I feel like it has an atmosphere of a happy slam, which should appeal to her.

Halep faces Australian teenager Destanee Aiava in the first round, while Wozniacki takes on Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu.

"When her forehand is operating well, she has got one of the best two-handed backhands, she's a great retriever, her serve has improved enough to give her some free points".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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