The Pick, Miami: Serena Williams vs. Simona Halep. Is the Romanian ready to upset the near perfect American?

Serena IW 15 TR MALT8371

 

1-Serena Williams vs. 3-Simona Halep

This is a gigantic match because Halep wants to show the world that she is good enough for anyone, which includes the world No. 1, Serena Williams. The Romanian has said that she wants to win a Slam and become No.1 but in order to do so, she has to knock off the queen, assuming that Serena stays healthy.

At the age of 33 years old, Williams can’t be at No. 1 forever, but right now, she is the best player by a long shot and there is no one, and I mean no one, has proven that they have beaten Serena if she is playing 100 percent.

With that said, Halep has been more consistent over the past two years and on the hard courts, she seems exactly what to do. Of course she hasn’t won every tournament and yes Maria Sharapova has troubled her, but she hasn’t taken one loss, become extremely emotional and disappear. Now she is calm and after a loss, wake up the next day, lift her chin up and moved on. That’s why she has won 14-matches in a row at Doha, at Indian Wells and now in Miami.

Unfortunately, Williams pulled out of Indian Wells prior to their semifinal and Halep was unable to take her gloves off and seize the day. Two weeks later, the 24 year old will have another chance with even more confidence.

Interestingly, the last time they played was in the 2014 WTA Finals in Singapore. Halep was on fire and super consistent and Serena had not woken up yet. Simona crushed her 6-0 6-2 in the Round Robin. Serena was very upset, saying that her serve was so bad that she was worse than the 10-and-unders. Then she locked in and by the time for the final against Halep, she was ready to nail the lines everywhere and got her right back, smoking Simona 6-3 6-0. Mentally, Halep wasn’t there, as she knew that Serena was going to play very well and she was nervous at the first ball.

That was in late October and now it is April 2. Serena hasn’t lost a match since then and outside of the Australian Open quarterfinal against Makarova and at Fed Cup when she went down to Muguruza, Halep has been very smart. She hasn’t played great every match but she has imposed herself, winning seven matches in three sets, which means that she isnt panicking.

The 19-Grand-Slam Serena rarely panics, so if Halep can win the match she has to fight all the way from the finish line. Williams is a much better serve, as she can boom the ball, ace after ace. Halep’s first serve has improved and can kiss the lines, but if she has to hit her second serves frequently, she has to take her chance because if she just pops it into the middle Serena will crush her returns where Halep cannot even touch them.

Halep can run all day and she is super fast, so if she can start the points 50-50 she will be right there, but she cannot push the ball and merely hope. She has to attack almost immediately and go for her favorite combo – her backhand crosscourt sharp and her foe is stretched to her left and then hammer her backhand down the other side and on the line – and any time Serena is out of position she has to move forward.

Serena is more powerful and can certainly out slug her with her forehand, which is heavier and deeper. If Williams is feeling well, then she will charge the net and end the points quickly.

Really, if Serena plays great she will win the match, even if Halep plays a terrific contest. Serena is still just better than she is. However, even though Serena has dominated Miami over the years, she is due to lose this year – right?

Serena won’t play fantastic, Halep will and grab it in three tremendous sets.

 

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