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.
Indian Wells – The veteran Venus Williams looked like her leg was almost broke.
She was down late in the second set against Jelena Jankovic and in looked like that she was about to retire. But, gradually, her legs began to loosen up. She wasn’t slow anymore and she began to hit the lines. She came back quickly, and eventually, she won it 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-1.
Venus is 36 years old. With the way she is playing now, it is possible that the seven-time Grand Slam champion could stay at the WTA Tour until she is 40. That is very unusual to be playing singles at that age when you are not as fast that you used to be, but you never know.
It’s been nearly 20 years when Venus walked on the court at Oakland. She won a match and from there, she never backed down.
The last time Venus won a major was in 2008, when she won Wimbledon. Could she ever win another Grand Slam title, like Roger Federer did in Australia?
“My current battle involves me getting closer to No. 1. So that’s the biggest battle I’m fighting right now. It’s rather selfish perhaps,” she said.