World No. 2 Simona Halep will continue her run in the 2019 WTA Dubai Tennis Championships on Wednesday; to face the Ukranian Lesia Tsurenko in the third round. The match will be played on February 20 at around 1 pm local time (9 am BST).
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Simona Halep v Lesia Tsurenko Head to Head
The two ladies have met six times already on the WTA Tour and not-so-surprisingly, Halep has won all of those meetings. In fact, they met as recently as last week in Doha, where the Romanian won in straight sets.
Halep Off to a Good Start
The Romanian started her campaign in Dubai with a dominating, straight-set victory over Eugenie Bouchard. The match lasted for just an hour and 44 minutes wherein, Halep won 7-6(4), 6-4. Bouchard, on her part, put up an excellent fight and saved five out of seven break points.
However, she lacked consistency in getting the first serve right. That, coupled with Halep’s brilliant form of late, meant an early exit for the Canadian.
With that win, Halep has now made it to the third round in Dubai and her real test begins now. Last week, she was the runner-up in WTA Doha where she lost in the final to Elise Mertens. Shortly after that defeat, she parted ways with her recently appointed coach Thierry Van Cleemput on the grounds that there was no on-court chemistry.
With Indian Wells and Miami Masters right around the corner, the Romanian’s decision to compete in these two prestigious competitions without a coach may be a bit risky. Things didn’t go according to the plan for her in the Australian Open series and she wouldn’t want a similar result over there as well. However, a winning run in Dubai will change everything.
Tsurenko Looking to Recapture Her Brisbane Glory
The 29-year-old Ukranian is currently the World No. 23 – her career-best singles ranking, following a great start to the season. She was a finalist in Brisbane where she lost to Karolina Pliskova, but the ranking points gathered there brought her a step closer to the top 20.
Last year, she was a quarterfinalist at the US Open and Cincinnati Open, surprising many players in the process. Her most impressive victories against the likes of Garbine Muguruza, Caroline Wozniacki, and Ekaterina Makarova. She has time and again proven that she is not a player to be taken lightly and she would definitely love to get a win over Halep as well.
However, following her run in Brisbane, she hasn’t been able to move past the second round, at least until now. In Dubai, she started her campaign with a decent win over Yulia Putintseva and followed that with a hard-earned, three-set victory over Lin Zhu.
Halep v Tsurenko Predictions & Tips
Tsurenko has a lot of potential and has winning memories against some of the most prolific players on the women’s circuit. At the same time, the wounds from her defeat to Halep last week are still fresh and that match will be playing in the back of her mind.
But all things considered, Tsurenko stands a chance here to win albeit, it is a small one. She will need to start strong to put early pressure on the Romanian. But for the time being, Halep will start as the favourite here.
You can watch & bet on Simona Halep v Lesia Tsurenko on Wednesday, February 20 here .