World No. 3 Simona Halep will go head to head with the Russian qualifier Margarita Gasparyan in the first round of the 2019 Madrid Open. The duo will clash on Sunday, May 4, after 1:30 pm local time (12:30 pm BST). Get Simona Halep v Margarita Gasparyan live streaming options here.
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Simona Halep v Margarita Gasparyan Head to Head
This is the first meeting between the two players.
Halep in Contention for the No. 1 Ranking
The following week in Madrid is going to be absolutely pivotal for Simona Halep. If she wins the tournament, she will not only win her first singles title of the season but also, become the World No. 1.
It hasn’t been the smoothest of the rides for Halep so far. It has had its ups and downs which is likely to do with her experiments to play without a coach. It’s not that she hasn’t much luck in this, but a dearth of titles is certainly unappealing.
Following a rough run in the Australian Open series, Halep reached the final in Doha and the quarterfinal in Dubai. The reigning French Open champion also reached the semifinal in Miami, where she lost to Karolina Pliskova.
In the Fed Cup, she won both of her matches against the French side in the semifinal, but couldn’t do enough past that to take her side to the final. She will be keen to make amends for that personally by putting up a good performance in Madrid.
A Tough Ask of Gasparyan
Gasparyan has certainly done well to reach the main draw in the Madrid Open but now, she faces a formidable opponent who is just as strong on clay as any other surface.
The 24-year-old Russian defeated Mona Barthel and Jennifer Brady in the qualifiers quite comfortably. This was a performance quite similar to the one she had in WTA Istanbul a couple of weeks ago. Gasparyan reached the semifinal there but retired against Petra Martic after going up a set in the match.
That was her sole highlight of the season. In other competitions, she never really managed to move past the early rounds.
Halep v Gasparyan Predictions & Tips
The Romanian is a strong player on clay and it will be tough for anyone, let alone the inexperienced Gasparyan, to pull off an upset here. While Halep has had her fair share of losses this year, they haven’t been against the lowly ranked players. Expect the number three seed to win this one without a hitch.
Tip: Over 18.5 games in the match: 17/20 (888Sport)