World number two Simona Halep will kick-start her Italian Open 2020 campaign with a second round match against Italy’s Jasmine Paolini on Wednesday, September 16. The match will be played from around 1 pm local time (12 noon BST). Get the live streaming options of this Simona Halep v Jasmine Paolini match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Simona Halep v Jasmine Paolini Head to Head
This will be the first time that Halep will be facing Paolini in a competitive match.
Halep 15-2 This Season
The Romanian top seed has been choosy about where she has played this year and has won 15 of her 17 matches. Her only two defeats came in the quarterfinal of the Adelaide International in the lead-up to the Australian Open and then in the semifinal of the latter itself where she went down in two hard-fought sets to Garbine Muguruza.
Since then, Halep has been on a nine-match winning streak spread across two tournaments and nearly six months. Yep, the WTA Dubai tennis competition was the last she played before the season was prematurely suspended because of the pandemic, and the first time she resumed playing was at the Prague Open which went on to win by beating Elise Mertens.
Halep was one of those top player who opted not to travel to New York to feature in either the ‘Cincinnati Open’ or the US Open because of the risks associated with the virus. More vitally, Halep loves playing on clay, having reached the final at the French Open thrice, winning one of them.
At the Italian Open, Halep has made the final twice but having been bundled out in the second round last year at this tournament, she would be looking to add to her ranking points by going as deep as possible and narrowing the gap between her and the top-ranked Ash Barty.
Paolini Gets Past Struggling Sevastova
On paper, Anastasija Sevastova was expected to defeat Jasmine Paolini given the wide gulf between their rankings. And despite Sevastova’s poor form she had started off their first round match as a favourite, with bookmakers offering 11/25 for her victory.
Paolini knew otherwise. She ran off to a crushing 6-2, 6-3 victory to add another feather to her cap which included her growth as a player from being ranked 215th in the world last season to within the top 100 this year.
Her top performance last season came in the form of a couple of ITF tournament wins but more vitally when she reached the quarterfinal of the Guangzhou Open as a qualifier. She was a quarterfinalist at Palermo as well having played with a wild-card.
This season she has begun to notch up a few wins in the opening round of competitions like how she did last week at Istanbul where she beat Stefanie Voegele in round one before going down to Polona Hercog. Earlier at the Palermo Open, Paoloni had beaten Daria Kasatkina in her opener.
Halep will prove to be a different kettle of fish but it’s by playing against some of these top players will the Italian be able to improve her game here.
Halep v Paolini Prediction & Tip
Some amount of rustiness can be expected from Halep having last played a competitive match a month ago. Paolini could keep her involved in a tussle which means the 1/8 on offer for Halep is way shorter than we would have liked. Looking at the match handicap and total games in the match.