A much anticipated encounter in the form of Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka will take place tomorrow in the Miami Open. Halep has gone 3-3 in 2017, while Osaka hasn’t lost a single first round match throughout the year. This will be fun to watch.
(3) Simona Halep (No.5) vs Naomi Osaka (No.49)
Overview: Simona Halep takes on Naomi Osaka in the second round of the Miami Open on Friday as she tries to kickstart her 2017 season. Halep has gone 3-3 for her season, only winning one match in January. Her other win came in St.Petersburg, where she had to withdraw after that, and the other won in last week’s Indian Wells over Donna Vekic. Halep had to skip the Middle East swing with injuries, but her knee seemed better in Indian Wells. We will see how her fitness holds up in the match today.
Naomi Osaka’s season got off to a difficult start in Auckland where she made the quarterfinals but had to retire. In the Australian Open, she was beaten by Johanna Konta in the second round and by Christina McHale in the round of 16 too, in Dubai. She played better at Indian Wells last week to reach the third round, her groundstrokes and serve holding up as she beat Ozaki and Zhang Shuai, only to fall to the big hitting Madison Keys in the third round.
Head to head: The pair met once before in last year’s French Open where Halep came back from a set down to beat Osaka in three.
Thoughts: Osaka definitely has enough firepower to beat the rusty Halep – but the courts definitely suits the Romanian. However, the Japanese can be erratic and make a lot of errors, while Halep is lacking in confidence and her movement will need to be on fleek if she wants to return the Osaka groundstrokes.
Prediction: Halep to beat Osaka in three