Monica seems such an unpredictable player anyway. But because she plays so strangely, it's not uncommon for top players to struggle a bit against her. Still, I think it's a somewhat good sign that pre-GOAT Simona beat her so easily, even if it was on clay.
That sounds so wrong. I think Simona can handle her pace and junk shots but she isn't playing well it seems based on that match against Kaia.
I'm not sure, Simona seems off when she is tired or isn't the mood of enjoying her time on court. Niculescu has a consistent defensive game, I'm sure she would be bothered by those slices. But Simona should be the favorite, that's for sure.
You don't think Simona played well? I was very pleased, especially with the top and tail of the match. For the middle half, Kanepi was playing great tennis & Simona's level dropped a little bit (whilst still playing decent tennis). However, Simona managed to stick in there and raise herself again at the end. I agree with stromatolite - it wasn't vintage Simona but, IMO, it was the best she has played this year. Good aggression, really going for her shots (there was some huge hitting finished with lovely winners by both players). Good depth on her groundstrokes and a much better willingness to use angles and go for the lines. All very encouraging. If she can find another 10-15% in her game she will be a big force again. Who knows, that could happen this week ...
PS The switch to centre court is confirmed. Not before 8pm Doha time.
Of course I was pleased , but I compare with time, when sportcaster enthusiastically yelling "unbelievable!! Simona does not make errors at all!"