Tag Archives: Roland Garros

2017 Season Preview/Predictions of Simo Halep. Is a Grand Slam Title Finally in the Cards?

Welcome back fellow Halepenos and HalepBand!! It is that time again as we are ready to kick off another year of supporting our champion. Last year Simo started very slow with a first round exit in the first slam in the year down under. She came into it with an illness which ended up becoming a more serious issue than initially expected and she even announced that she would have nasal surgery to fix it which would’ve sidelined her for at least a month including fed cup. Here’s where I jump in to say THANK GOD SHE POSTPONED IT WE GOT THE GREATEST KVITALEP MATCH OF ALL TIME BECAUSE OF THAT!! Ok. Moving on. Simo went on to win three titles in 2016: Madrid, (her first one in 14 months) Bucharest for the second time in her career (the first one she ever won multiple times) and another huge win in Montreal over Madison Keys the week before the Olympics which she didn’t participate in. She kind of struggled towards the end of the year but one of her highlights even in defeat was a very hard-fought battle against Serena in Flushing Meadows at the US Open which she lost in three sets. Including one of the most clutch sets you’ll see in a long time where she faced 12 break points in the second set and saved every single one to win it.

So…. What does 2017 have in store for us? She will begin her journey in Shenzhen again; an event which she won back in 2015. Barring health issues, as I believe every year, the highlight of this year will be seeing her stand in front of a massive crowd kissing her first career grand slam trophy. Doubters and haters will say she will never be able to do it because of weak mental strength, power, etc. but they have never stopped us before in believing it will happen. Simo has to trust herself most importantly, live in the moment and play without fear because that’s the only thing holding her back as of now since we know her fighting spirit and talent has never been in question.He can’t help her on court during them but believe in Darren to show her the way to this majestic trophy! He’s a wizard don’t ever doubt that! This partnership has many great things left to accomplish in her career. I think Simo can win at least five titles this year (my bias could even do more if I wanted! But five sounded nice to start with) And I’m gonna predict them (despite not knowing draws which of course would help) and the results at every slam for starters here:

Australian Open: QF- This one is hard to predict for a lot more reasons than usual mainly because it’s so early in the year and it can be hard to get fully zoned into grand slam mode immediately starting 2017, you don’t know who is hot and who is cold yet, and the extreme heat is always random and that can get concerning on certain days. I mean I know she can go further but she has never reached a SF here and so I’m hesitant to think she will all of a sudden, but she has the talent to even win this so I’m trying to be cautious but at the same time optimistic! Based on plenty of experience… it’s better to be pleasantly surprised than expect a title and get let down again.

Roland Garros– Winner! A boring and obvious pick for many as the one she will win first but hey, this is her favorite event to play so why shouldn’t it be here? And she has shown amazing success here before and on clay in general. I still am very bitter about how it ended last year as the conditions were extremely horrid and they made her play through them and it cost her a loss. It’s not like she played great but come on she should’ve never been out there. That could’ve easily been her first slam too who knows. Ok that’s enough of Jake’s rant session that’s a topic you don’t want to push me on! So throw away the loss to Lucic Baroni in 2015 and her resume here doesn’t look too shabby.

Wimbledon: QF- This would be the same result as last year and I feel the same way about this one as AO because I know she can have success here and the 2014 SF shows that, but grass has never been her best surface and I feel she will need some draw luck to go deep. If she didn’t have to play Angie last year I think she could’ve had a shot at the title again so while this wouldn’t be an amazing run, I am still optimistic that she can go even deeper here! She has to believe I keep saying that’s always the key!

US Open- Final. I don’t know if she can win but I can easily see her making her first USO final this year because she has played some fantastic tennis in New York and nearly made it in 2015 before falling very flat in the SF vs Pennetta. If she gets there, it’s not like I’m automatically predicting a loss I am just saying I think she’s gonna get there and the rest will play out itself. I mean it could be against Serena for all we know and that’s big trouble (not that it’s totally impossible to beat her 😉 If she already has one this year coming into this one, the thought of her playing for her second one in the same year gives me so many feels don’t touch me right now I’m getting emotional.

The main thing I’m praying for this grand slam season are that there are no extremely early round flops to break our hearts. (Ok YES ANY GRAND SLAM LOSS WILL BREAK OUR HEARTS BUT YOU GET ME) Because this has happened at least once in each of the past couple of years and we know it’s very difficult to deal with! It crushes me seeing all of her fans sad after losses like those because it’s so unexpected and it’s just like a huge bomb out of nowhere dropping down on her fanbase. If she is gonna lose at a slam I prefer it to be later because at least she gave herself a much better chance to lift the trophy.

Also another prediction that is probably worth mentioning is her ranking status this year. She is currently #4 in the world and you have to think if she can maintain that consistency and stay in the top 5 the whole year that would be another great year for her. Of course her reaching #1 in the world is another huge achievement that we would all love to see her get to at some point, but it certainly won’t be easy. However, it’s obviously not impossible and there will be some nice chances early for her to get at least to #3 by the end of the Australian Open and if she wins it, could leapfrog all the way to #2 if I’m not mistaken. Bottom line, my prediction is that she will end at #3. I think staying in the top 5 is still my main wish but I’m not ruling her out to get higher and higher if she believes in herself and takes her chances.

Last but not least, my four other trophy predictions include Shenzhen again, Miami, Cincy and Singapore. Why not try for some more new trophies for her trophy case! Feel free to make your predictions on her titles, her grand slam results and anything else you want! Regardless of how her year plays out I can’t wait to support Simo with all of you for another year. Win or lose we always have her beautiful smile, her positivity, her cuteness, her kindness, her hard work ethic, and too many more amazing qualities to count. That counts for more than any tennis result could. I wish you all a healthy and Happy New Year and let’s make 2017 the best one yet! Hai Super Simo!!

Hope you enjoyed reading!

Jake

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Five Reasons Why Simo Will and Won’t Win Roland Garros

Since I made one for Petra of course I had to do one for Super Simo! There are always plenty of questions for her entering every slam it seems like and each one the anticipation grows and grows of when that elusive first slam title will come. The following points will show why she will finally get that first slam here in beautiful Paris, and why she will have to wait another month to try again.

Five Reasons Why Simo Will Win Roland Garros

  1. She is as confident as she has been in a long time

This year has been a rocky one with not many positives and nearly was cut short after an announced surgery that ended up never happening. We often have to question her confidence and yes a lot of it is bad luck with injuries, but there have been losses this year that are hard to explain. However, she is fresh off of her biggest win of the season and the past 14 months with her title in Madrid that seemingly came out of nowhere. (Or it was a long time coming if you’re like us and know how hard she constantly works) It came at the perfect time as Simo has to feel like her game is right where it needs to be and she can fully believe that she can lift this trophy. Everything came together and she proved that the good times were far from over. Any title is special but when she got one this big and right before a slam, her confidence will never get higher. Forget about the early loss in Rome right after that. It’s very hard to get focused that quickly and switch court speeds like that. I would not put any stock on that result. As long as she didn’t get injured it’s fine. That should not change her belief.

  1. She finally seems to be getting toward 100% health wise

Before Madrid started this was a major concern as we saw because she got absolutely crushed by Laura Siegemund in Stuttgart and her injury from Fed Cup the previous weekend was a big factor. She couldn’t do anything she wanted to do and was very limited in her shots and movement. I still think it was an event she should not have entered as she said her ankle was still very painful after the weekend and basically tried to run on adrenaline alone. That wasn’t going to cut it and it showed. In Madrid she basically made all of our worries disappear as there were no signs of trouble with it during her title run. Even in Rome it didn’t seem to be that bad, it was just a tough recovery match right after a long week in Madrid. Me personally I don’t have concerns about it unless she says something bad about it. Simo moved beautifully all week in Madrid and if she is 100% percent healthy or close to it unlike in Melbourne this year during the first slam… then watch out she can win it all; especially because of how often injuries have held her back in the past and what kind of player she is when fully healthy.

  1. She is a very good clay court player

There is no doubt about it she has the game on this surface to win it. There are so many ways that clay suites her game. She slides so well and it enhances her world class defending skills to a point where it can drive her opponents crazy. The SF and Finals matches in Madrid proved every bit of that. She will never be able to outhit the big power guns but what she can do is make them earn every point they play and players like them are more vulnerable to breaking down because of that. Simo likes the long points and if she can make them work harder than they have to she will have them right where she wants them. It’s not like she has no power at all either; she is very capable of turning her brilliant defense into offense quickly and that will be a crucial step to win this title.

  1. The WTA has not been in a consistent state this year

This was a positive reason in my Petra article and I believe it can easily be used again because of how important it is. You never know what you’re going to get at a WTA event this year because of all of the inconsistent players and this is something Simo can take advantage of. I mean she kind of did it in Madrid because she was the only seeded player in the QFs. It doesn’t matter how she did it though because she hasn’t taken advantage that often in the previous 14 months without a title. This draw is also capable of breaking down and if Simo has a favorable enough draw we could see her playing opponents that are very manageable which would mean a deeper result and perhaps her being fresher for the really tough opponents down the road. That being said, the slam draws haven’t mattered to her much the past year or so as she’s lost to players like Zhang, Cepelova, Lucic Baroni, etc. She can’t take advantage of draws without beating those kind of players.

  1. Her only grand slam final was at this very event

Yes it’s time to bring back one of the best Simo moments of all time when she made a memorable run to the 2014 Roland Garros final and nearly captured her first grand slam title against Maria Sharapova. That is a match if you have to watch one Simo match that she didn’t win, that’s the one. It demonstrates all of the reasons Simo has a great chance to win this slam every year and why many people think her first one will be here. Everyone already knows she can challenge any player on the tour but this just showed that in the biggest moments she is ready to fight her hardest until the very end. The strengths that I described about Simo on clay earlier were in full force against Maria who is one of the toughest competitors of the game during this era. She did everything but win the match and I fully believe that when she has the chance, she will show her best again and this time it will be good enough to win.

Five Reasons Why Simo Won’t Win Roland Garros

  1. She puts too much pressure on herself by saying there is no pressure

Every slam it seems we hear the same thing from her ‘I have no expectations, I’m just going to play my game and see what happens’ Well I know she means well but it’s like she is trying so hard to avoid pressure to make it seem like she doesn’t have to worry about it, and next thing you know she is out. You can’t say things that are unrealistic and I know some will say this is a good frame of mind but to me it makes it seem she is making it harder on herself by avoiding any pressure talks. I’m not saying she should just admit the pressure is on and she’s nervous, but in reality it will always be there and she has to deal with it. If she plays it too safe again she won’t last long.

  1. Grand Slams have ended in horrific fashion for her many times recently

Recent history shows that this is the main concern for why Simo will not win Roland Garros this year although it’s my second reason. When Simo loses at a slam, she doesn’t just lose, she collapses in a terrifying way. There is no warning of when it is coming, it just happens and we have to sit there stunned and depressed. This isn’t a reason that can be explained other than she just faces the wrong opponents at the wrong time. Think of her slam losses since 2014 Wimbledon. Lucic Baroni badly twice, basically giving up against Makarova in 2015 AO, no answer for Cepelova in the first round of 2015 Wimbledon, and then again a complete no show in USO SF against Flavia Pennetta after one of her greatest matches in her career against Vika. And of course we can’t forget this year’s first round defeat in Melbourne where Zhang blew her off the court. That leads to my next point. There isn’t a legit loss for Simo at a slam since that RG final I just discussed. It happens way too often for a player of her stature and don’t think it can’t happen again.

  1. She can get blown off the court when you least expect it

Like I said before and it’s something that is widely known so you don’t need me to tell you, Simo is not the most powerful player so she is vulnerable to this against the big hitters. She has run into opponents like Lucic Baroni and Zhang who had their way with her in every possible way imagined and there is nothing Simo can do. She just sits back and takes the abuse and in the blink of an eye it’s over. It’s almost like early on she knows she is getting painfully outhit and just goes through the motions the rest of the way until the bleeding is over. This is something that fans can realize early on too that she is in big trouble when her opponents are on fire and painting lines where even her strong defending can’t save her. When players take away her defending ability and being able to turn that into offense, it hurts her chances much more. I am afraid of this reason happening the most because there isn’t a worse feeling than watching her being helpless out there.

  1. Injuries that linger turn into painful consequences

Simo can tell us all she wants that she is feeling great and all of that fine and dandy stuff. However, it always seems her injuries never really go away and get worse and worse during a specific match during a slam or any event for that matter and all of a sudden it is affecting every part of her game and that’s how losses can happen. I’m not saying she is losing at slams because of her injuries, but she has a very fragile body and this is a reason you cannot avoid because we have seen it too many times before. She needs to be able to win matches as quickly as possible early on so she doesn’t put so much wear and tear on her ankle/foot which is usually the main part of her body that has trouble holding up. Clay especially more than any surface in my opinion is where you need healthy feet because of how much running and sliding needs to be done. Plus when movement and defense are her biggest strengths on this surface, it’s not something that would be good at all if that is taken away. I can tell you this much, if she has any troubles with it during this event, you can forget about her winning. Although playing every other day is a plus.

  1. Her mind and emotions are as fragile as her body

This does tie into the other points a bit but still there is more to be said. I feel the emotions part especially is noteworthy because Simo is extremely hard on herself and a perfectionist. This leads to her emotions getting the best of her because she loses control when it isn’t necessary. We saw a great example of this in Madrid when she faced Irina Begu and let a simple tactic or what she thought was bad when Begu was getting coaching during the match play. Those are things she has to put away and not worry about. In slams there are gonna be a lot of tense moments and she has to focus on herself and nothing else. Yes she can’t change the fact that she will get angry on bad shots and want to win every point badly and throw her racquet, etc. She can change when she does it and how often because the less upset she gets, the more energy she saves during the match. Every ounce of energy will be needed for her because of her style. If she doesn’t have enough, of course she won’t win it.

I hope you liked this article and again thank you for reading! You can give more reasons if you please and feel free to agree or disagree with these reasons! Let’s hope for a huge run here once again!

Hai Simo!!

 

Five Reasons Why Petra Will and Won’t Win Roland Garros

Just under one week from today another grand slam is upon us and the excitement is in the air. But her fans want to know how will Petra do? Does she have a legit threat to win this title or is there something blocking her path that is too much to overcome? I felt like writing this article because I wanted to offer my thoughts on how she can lift this trophy, but also how she will come up short. Nobody knows how she’ll do of course and I know the draw isn’t out yet but this way I can give realistic thoughts early on both sides so nobody is too hopeful or pessimistic. I’m trying to balance my usual optimism with some harsh truths and trying to balance it for #TeamPetra too! Feel free to counter your thoughts as this is an interesting topic to discuss!

Five Reasons Why Kvitty Will Win in Paris

  1. The uncanny ability to blow anyone off the court on any given day/week(s).

As a Petra fan this is the reason you have faith in her to win anywhere anytime even when her form isn’t the greatest at the moment. Sure, she can be wild but also very deadly and we never know when Petra could get hot and start destroying all of her competition. It could be coming soon and if she’s on, it won’t matter who she is playing because she’ll run right through them. Although Madrid is a different court speed, when she won that title last year that’s the potential you are looking at in any event. I don’t care what surface it’s on or what form she’s in, I would take Petra over a lot of other players to have the best chance to get hot and dominate anyone. Not many have the potential to do it like she does. We’ve seen it before and it’s truly mesmerizing to watch.

  1. She is due for a big event

We all know Petra is the type of player who will flop randomly to people she shouldn’t, but then out of nowhere wins a huge title because she’s just that good. It’s no secret that this year has been nothing short of disastrous, but you have to feel that Petra is getting closer and closer to that big surprise that she is known to deliver. Last year the season was going kind of similar to this until she stormed through Madrid and won her second title there while beating in Serena in the process. That was on clay too of course and basically out of nowhere so you never know. Even when Petra’s form isn’t the greatest this is still something that we can pretty much bank on getting at least a few big surprises. This could be it. If you’re doubting it, just think of the titles Petra has won where you doubted her coming in. The only problem with this reason is if we think she is due it’s kind of like expecting something big. I don’t mean it that way; just that we haven’t gotten to a final yet. It has to happen eventually.

  1. Nobody is giving her a chance to win it= no pressure

I don’t care what people say, this one is totally true and if you’re expecting her to win it judging on her year so far then I don’t know what to tell you. She is seeded 11th here for Christ sake. I don’t remember the last time she didn’t have a top 10 seed for a slam so that should tell you everything you need to know. This is good for Petra. Not necessarily draw wise but pressure wise. Hopefully this will relax her a bit knowing that she won’t get as many of these type of questions during the week for a change. Of course she’ll still get it more than most just because of her recognition but it won’t be as much as the past I can tell you that. Even if she does, it’s only because reporters won’t have better questions to ask. She won’t have to feel like she is supposed to lead the pack and can focus on her own game and let everyone else take the heat. Maybe it’ll lead to her swooping in for the win.

  1. The current WTA around her isn’t in a consistent state at the moment.

This one doesn’t have to do with her really but it gives her a better chance than most years because of how unreliable any of the top players have been this year for the most part. It’s not like Petra has been anything close to consistent either this year yet but I’m just saying the draw has bigger potential to crumble and if Kvitty finds a way to stay consistent, she could take advantage and go deep here. I’m also not saying that draws matter for her much but it still wouldn’t hurt if she didn’t have to play anyone that has caused her trouble like Aga, Angie, CSN, Simo, etc.

  1. She has made a deep run here before.

Take this one with a grain of salt because it was way back in 2012 when she made the SFs and since then she hasn’t reached the QFs. Still, it’s not like she hasn’t proved herself here before and at this slam especially it’s nice to have any kind of successful experience. I wouldn’t put your hope on this reason being the one to have faith in her chances, I’m just pointing it out because she can get there.

Five Reasons why Kvitty won’t win in Paris

  1. Her current form is not near a grand slam title level.

Petra has had a rough year we can’t avoid it. It all started with an early loss in the first slam of the year in Australia and kept going downhill from there. The only real positives to this year so far have been her QF run in Indian Wells and SF in Stuttgart. There have been hints of greatness during this clay season, notably Stuttgart but Madrid left us back to where we started with more questions after that seemed to be her best chance to succeed on clay again.  The best we can do is hope but like I said you can’t expect it. There are higher odds she won’t win than will and until she proves us her level is back near the top, she’s not quite ready to take the big leap towards this title.

  1. She has injury concerns.

Coming into Madrid she had to deal with an abdominal injury and she said she couldn’t practice until Saturday before the tournament started. So the third round exit doesn’t look as bad but it still makes you wonder… after an early loss in Rome, how is it going to hold up in Paris? The best news out of that loss was it gives her more time to heal it however bad it is which nobody really knows but her and her team. I’m thinking it has been getting better over the past week and will keep improving this week. We won’t know anything about it unless it pops up during a match which I hope we won’t have to worry about. Severity doesn’t usually matter because if it’s there in any form, it could limit her enough to cause her trouble at any time. That’s a good enough reason to lose a match and this is the one way I don’t want to see her go out.

  1. Recent appearances here have not been good.

Her good run was in the positives section but there have been more bad runs than good ones so that’s why it has to be addressed again. The last three years after that SF have been full of disappointments and it makes you scratch your head sometimes because we know she isn’t a terrible clay court player. Her game is suited for all surfaces. I give her credit in 2014 for an incredible fight against Kuznetsova in a tough loss in which she probably would’ve beat many others. However 2013 was very ugly and 2015 was ok but she had to work much harder than necessary to get where she ended up. And she basically was nowhere to be found after the first set in her loss to Timea Bacsinszky last year. You can’t know what to expect but based on the last few years, that alone is a concern to happen again.

  1. She is just as much as of threat to lose very early as to win it all.

This goes along perfectly with the first reason in the last section. She can blow anyone away, but could just as easily put in a miserable performance against even the lowest opponents to send her home packing way earlier than expected. A good example in Paris would be her loss to Jamie Hampton in 2013 where she was the clear favorite, but got destroyed after losing a tight first set. She isn’t supposed to bend over to a player like that but it happened. Nobody knows when it’s coming but at the same time nobody is surprised when it happens either. So you can decide what you think we are going to get this year. It’s going to be one or the other, nothing in between most likely. Prepare yourself.

  1. Last event before grass, how much motivation?

Before you question this one, deep down you’ll know the reasoning is pretty accurate. I am not saying at all that Petra won’t be motivated to win this title. I mean if she’s not then what is she doing there? I mean it’s a grand slam she’ll be focused. I am just saying we all know how much she loves the grass and does anything she can to compliment it and show her excitement for Wimbledon. Who could blame her with her amazing success there? That being said, I don’t think this will be the end of the world for her no matter what round she loses in. I think her biggest slams of the year honestly are in Melbourne and Wimbledon. The other two she goes to play and hopes for the best and that can be a good and bad thing. This reason just happens to be a bad one. As fans, this is a small positive to if she loses here, that grass is next and greatness has a much better chance to appear.

Thanks for reading and look out for the Simo version of this article tomorrow! I’m open to discussion about your own reasons for either side if you have them!

Pojd Kvitty!