Birthday girl Simona Halep sails through after slow start

Tanya Simon
September 27, 2020

Two months of physical training.

Williams hasn't had a clay court tuneup. Followed by two straight titles on the red dirt.

Serena Williams said she does not have any expectations at the French Open and is simply "rolling with the punches" this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

When the clay-court Grand Slam tournament begins Sunday, 2018 champion Halep will be on court against 70th-ranked Sara Sorribes Tormo.

Speaking about the interruption, Azarenka said: "I think it's very tricky at the moment to have these conditions". I feel confident, but you never know. I won the tournament in Rome just a week later after what happened in NY. I haven't played on clay yet, so we'll see.

Djokovic has bounced back with brilliance after a stunning disqualification at the U.S. Open on September 7 for flicking a ball that hit a lineswoman. So she wasn't worn down by a deep run in NY "or even just the travel and jet lag" like many of her main challengers.

Djokovic, chasing an 18th major, will get underway on Tuesday boasting a record in 2020 of 31 wins and just one loss due to his US Open default when he swiped a ball away in frustration and struck a line judge. Putintseva and Pliskova each retired because of injury after losing the first set to Halep, while Muguruza was methodically worn down over the course of a long three-setter.

The autumnal French Open got off to an inauspicious start when Victoria Azarenka refused to continue playing her first-round match against Danka Kovinic because of the conditions.

"Obviously I am going to be extra careful of hitting a tennis ball around the court", added Djokovic. While the U.S. Open was ongoing, he practiced with the new ball in his home island of Mallorca. "Normally, you'd go with Rafa but at some point, I mean he's won it 12 times, but it seems like he's as well set up as he's ever been".

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"So that's why I didn't play Olympics few years ago". Gauff lost in Round 1 at the U.S. Open to Anastasija Sevastova.

"I'm happy that I can feel that way. And when I feel stressed, I prefer to stay home".

"I rate Novak's chances as highly as high as Rafa's at the French Open, yes".

Just 24 minutes into the tournament at Roland Garros and already the autumn scheduling of the French Grand Slam was proving a problem, with the players in the opening match walking off court after complaints about the conditions.

Nadal and Thiem could clash in the Roland Garros semi-finals.

So consider Halep, who can reclaim the top-ranking from Barty if she wins Roland Garros again, ready to deal with the expectations of being a favorite.

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"She has big expectations of herself", Apostu-Efremov said. "Some do it better, some miss some of this old stuff".

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