Simona Halep kickstarted her US Open campaign with a resounding win over Camila Giorgi 6-4, 7-6(3) in a nerve-wracking contest. This is Halep’s first Grand Slam event after he featured at the Australian Open earlier this year. She was out with a calf muscle injury for close to three months which ruled her out of several titles in between.
It was a very tough outing for the Romanian as there were no signs of a break until the ninth game of the first set. Halep secured the break and won the first set. But the second set was very dodgy as the balance kept shifting. Halep missed two match points on serve and subsequently, Giorgi managed to take it to the tiebreak. However, Halep came back strongly to win the tiebreak and progress to the next round.
Halep admitted in the post-match press conference that she felt the pressure during the match points. It is because of the nerves she failed to close out the match earlier.
“At 5-4 I felt the pressure,” Halep said. “Because I don’t have many matches, I felt sick a little bit because I knew actually I have to finish the match because in three sets would be a little bit tougher.”
“I worked a lot in the break when I couldn’t move that much because of the leg. So I did practice a lot of serves,” she added. “But I’m happy to see my serve improving, and I can win some easy points with it. So I have been looking for it for many years, but now finally I can feel it stronger.”
The 29-year-old revealed that she is still suffering from injuries even during the US Open. She had a tear in her adductor which ruled her out of the Cincinnati Masters. even in the first round game, her thigh was heavily taped which gave it away that she is not 100% fit.
“I practised once a few days ago without the tape, about 30 minutes, and I felt the pain again,” Halep revealed. “So probably it’s mentally more, but also I have the injury there. So it’s better to have it. I talked to the physios, WTA physios, and they advised me to keep it. So I will play with it.”
Halep will now face Slovakian tennis star Kristina Kucova in the second round of the US Open 2021.