INDIAN WELLS. March 12 — A couple years ago, Simona Halep became No. 2. She reached the final of Roland Garros. There she was very close to her first Slam win, but Maria Sharapova stepped on the gas, winning to 6-4 in the third.
Halep had lost, and cried, but she believed that she could win at the Grand Slam.
She hasn’t yet.
In 2016, she was on fire, racing around, hitting hard and crushing balls. She won Madrid, Bucharest and Montreal. But guess what? At the Slams, her head wasn’t into it.
She lost early at the Aussie and Roland Garros. At Wimbledon, she managed to go into the second week, beating Madison Keys, but she fell against Angie Kerber in two tight sets.
At the US Open, she reached the quarters again, losing another very tight match, going down to Serena Williams, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.
She wasn’t quiet there.
Now she will face KiKi Mladenovic at Indian Wells.
As Halep said, “I’m here, and she’s here.”
Mladenovic beat her in Paris and Birmingham, but Halep topped her in three long sets at 2015 Cincinnati.
Mladenovic is rising, while Halep is struggling.
One way or another, at Indian Wells, it should be a classic.