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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This thread is for the three tournaments prior to Roland Garros.
Simona is the best clay court player of the last few years, leading the WTA's clay court power rankings.
However Stuttgart has not given her much joy. A win over Muguruza there several years ago is one of few good results. The flipside of that is that any wins will add ranking points.

The draw looks super tough and there is a question mark over whether Simona is recovered from her shoulder injury. I expect her to be easing her way back into play with reduced serving speed.

Draw:

(1)Barty v BYE
Siegemund v (Q)Barthel
Ostapenko v (Q)Voegele
(LL)Korpatsch v (6)Pliskova

(4)Svitolina v BYE
Kerber v (LL)Gorgodze
Sakkari v (wc)Petkovic
Brady v (7)Kvitova

(5)Sabalenka v Zhang
(Q)Eikeri v (Q)Friedsam
(Q)Middendorf v Kontaveit
(3)Kenin v BYE

(8)Bencic v (Q)Schunk
Alexandrova v Muchova
Bouzkova v Vondrousova
(2)Halep v BYE
.
 

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Facing Bouz/Vondrou after a long break is tough, not to mention Drova/Muchova/Bencic in R3.

I only hope Simona will be completely healthy before/during/after the competition, as the next three months are crucial for her career.

No expectation for the result in Stuttgart. A performance up to 65% of Simo's capacity is fine with me. But of course, if she wins, I'll be happy.:)
------------------
Without audience, this place is dead quiet and hollow. Simona has to play but she won't enjoy it.
 

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Really hard match for Simo tomorrow. I just hope she's healthy. I don't care about results.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's a great win for Simona today. Her serving looked okay and the rest of her game was looking in good shape after a month's absence. The 0-2 H2H was on her mind but she won most of the points when she found the cross court angles and the drop shots did not do too much damage. Vondrousova did not look that mobile laterally and either didn't like the courts or didn't want to aggravate an injury. Still any win for Simona at Stuttgart should be seen as a bonus and any more points she cqn get this week will be really useful.

20210422_170820-1.jpg
 

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Well, it wasn't so bad after all.
Simona said her recent shoulder injury determined her to choose clever serving rather than forcing it. Nevertheless she hit some aces.
Vondrousova looked slightly injured too, she was far from top speed (not that she's usually so on the court).
Anyway, a good short win to close an annoying case for Simona.
 

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Convincing victory right after a long break!
Vondrou was so bad. But Simona played so much better than I'd expected- bashing the ball with lethal accuracy today.😅
Still a bit concerned for her shoulder. Hope everything will be fine.🙏🍀

Just posted 3 hrs ago:

"My injury is getting better. Actually I can say I've recovered. But I didn't play an official match, so it's different when you're back to ... play a match. I'm waiting to start here and to see if I'm 100% recovered."
 

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Another sweet revenge taken. Simona looked less focused in the second set but kept her level up enough to finish in slightly more than an hour.
A big hitter will follow in the semifinal...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well done! Another good win today by Simona, who was very good in the first set. In the second, she got the breaks when needed and made a big effort to serve out the match. Alexandrova started quite poorly but put Simona's serve under plenty of pressure in the second set.

20210423_201553-1.jpg
 

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When I tuned in it's already 3-0 1st set. Simo's focus was almost unparalleled, she even jumped in onto Drova's 2nd serve like a fierce predator.
Just as her previous match with Vondrou, there were moments I felt that Simo was a stranger to me, but in a good and curious way.:unsure:
2nd set Drova played better and Simo's level came down to make it a match. By the end of the set Simo was once again familiar.:oops:
Still a great job Simo!👏
Will be tougher the next round. Go Simona!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Simona won two matches, which is more than we initially expected and I hope she can quickly get to Madrid and get some practice in.
I would love to see the details of the financial aspects of playing Stuttgart. There may be particular pressures as a result of Porsche's sponsorship of the WTA. In following years, depending on the schedule or the travel difficulties, I'd like to see her seriously consider skipping it. Either keep the week as preparation for Madrid or try Istanbul, which at least is outdoor and could be more to her liking.
She has played this tournament six times and never played Charleton. If she wants to add another clay court trophy to her collection then she should consider adding another to her calendar.
 

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I think Stuttgart was a good tournament for Simona. She beat two players who have beaten her in the past and Sabalenka was too good yesterday, so no shame in losing against her. Stuttgart is rarely an indicative on how the French open is gonna go, so there's still hope for a good clay campaign for Simona this year. Better luck next in Madrid🤞👍
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Here is the bottom half of the Madrid draw. Simona probably starts on Thursday.

Good luck Simona!

(5) Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) vs. (Q)
Daria Kasatkina (RUS) vs. (Q)
Jessica Pegula (USA) vs. Sorana Cirstea (ROU)
(12) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) vs. Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS)

(13) Elise Mertens (BEL) vs. Shuai Zhang (CHN)
Elena Rybakina (KAZ) vs. (Q)
Magda Linette (POL) vs. Saisai Zheng (CHN)
(3) Simona Halep (ROU) vs. Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP)

(6) Karolina Pliskova (CZE) vs. Cori Gauff (USA)
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs. Madison Keys (USA)
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) vs. Jelena Ostapenko (LAT)
(11) Jennifer Brady (USA) vs. Venus Willias (USA)

(16) Maria Sakkari (GRE) vs. Amanda Anisimova (USA)
Anett Kontaveit (EST) vs. (Q)
Qiang Wang (CHN) vs. Karolina Muchova (CZE)
(2) Naomi Osaka (JPN) vs. (Q)
 

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Glad Simo's shoulder seems to be completely fine now.:)

R1 opponent Sorribes Tormo, whom Simo defeated 6-4 6-0 in FO last year.
However I hope Simo won't take SST lightly. SST had a good run on hard court this year. She beat Brady and Jabeur in Miami and improved her ranking from #70(last FO) to #46. SST is also a good clay player and a local Spanish.

Simo will probably meet Mertens 3R and Sabalenka again 4R(? a bit in doubt).
---------------------------------------------------

I really miss DcsabaS's analysis of the game. He has disappeared from TF for almost 3 months now. TBH I've a "not so good" feeling about it.:(
But what can we do?
Hope he is fine and will come back lecturing to us about Aggressive Margin or whatever he wants.
 

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What in the world happened after 6-0, 5-1? Simona suddenly became a pusher and stayed glued to the baseline allowing a scrub like Sorribes Tormo to basically boss her around. Sorribes Tormo has NOTHING, NOTHING to hurt Simona. Halep prolonged this match because she got too passive. Simona's inability to finish points in the net has prevented her from winning more slams. This is the kind of matches where Simona should be saving precious physical time that will be useful in later rounds with more dangerous players. No wonder why sometimes she loses finals because she's gassed and exhausted after unnecessary marathons. Still Simo showed some cold mentality at the end and could win, but boy.... Being a Halep's fan is not easy sometimes. I should know by now that nothing with Simo comes easy. Still supporting her no matter what. Onwards Simo!
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Simona played nearly immaculate tennis for the first seven games though SST was poor. In the second set nerves may have started to creep in, SST stsrted playing a lot better, albeit to some extent allowed to by Simona.
It looks like Simona plays next on Sunday.

Well done Simona and good luck for R2!
 

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Couldn't watch the match. When I got home the first thing was to check the result.
Wow the 2nd set was competitive.:p
Next, I'd like to see Simo deliver bakery products to SaiSai, Pls.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
A good win for Simona today, mostly successfully dealing with Zheng's tactics. Simona was break point down in two games in the first set, some good play from Zheng was unrewarded in the first eight games, so the tighter scoreline in the second set was not that much of a surprise. Simona's returning was mostly really good.

Well done Simona and good luck for R3!

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