World No. 1 Simona Halep will begin her 2019 WTA season in Sydney against the local favourite, the world no. 15 Ashleigh Barty.
Watch & bet on Simona Halep v Ashleigh Barty live in the WTA Sydney International with bet365 here* on Wednesday, January 9.
*Geo-restrictions apply & pre-funded account needed
Halep v Barty Head to Head
Halep and Barty have met only twice on the tour so far. Both of those matches were played in 2018 and the Romanian was victorious on both the occasions. They first met in the semifinal of WTA Montreal where Halep dispatched her Australian adversary 6-4, 6-1.
Later that season, they crossed paths again in Cincinnati. The World No. 1 repeated a similar feat against Barty and went up 2-0 in the head to head tally.
Barty’s Remarkable Performance in Sydney
Ash Barty rose to glory in 2018 on the back of stellar performance on the WTA Tour. She had her first major breakthrough in Sydney where she made it to the final. She could have very well gone the distance but had to settle for the runners-up trophy against Angelique Kerber.
She then moved on to reach the fourth round at the Miami Open and the semifinal at WTA Strasbourg. A few weeks later, the 22-year-old won her second singles title – this time in Nottingham. Sailing high on confidence, she carried that form to Eastbourne where she was a quarterfinalist.
In the second half of the season, she reached the semifinal in Montreal and Wuhan and capped the season by winning the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai. While Barty is primarily a doubles player (she won the US Open Doubles with Coco Vandeweghe), she has done superbly on the singles circuit as well.
She is heading into this fixture after edging past Jelena Ostapenko with 6-3, 6-3.
Halep’s Another Season as the World No. 1
Halep finished the 2018 season as the World No. 1 for the second year in a row. Over the course of the year, she won three titles – WTA Shenzhen, the French Open, and the Rogers Cup.
At the same time, she was highly consistent and reached the final few rounds in most of the competitions she played in. For instance, she was a runner-up at the Australian Open, Italian Open, and the Cincinnati Open. Halep also reached the semifinal at the Indian Wells and Doha.
However, towards the end of the season, she played poorly having lost in the early rounds at the Flushing Meadows, Wuhan, and Beijing. She subsequently withdrew from the rest of the tour but had gathered enough points to ensure a No. 1 finish.
Halep v Barty – Who Will Win?
It comes as no surprise to see Halep start this match as the overwhelming favourite to win. However, she is starting the season without a coach and it will be interesting to see how she fares here.
At the same time, Barty is a talented player who has delivered some interesting results over the course of her career. This is going to be an entertaining game to watch.
You can watch & bet on Simona Halep v Ashleigh Barty live in the WTA Sydney International with bet365 here on Wednesday, January 9.