Simona Halep needs to stop giving out invitations and find her ruthless streak!

Simona Halep’s season has been good to a point.

If you look at her performances in her defeats this season she continues to give out invitations. Barty, Serena, Kiki, Vondrousova, Bencic and Anisimova all have hit her off the court but it’s part of her own making.

Tactically I think she has got a lot of matches wrong this year.

When I was in Melbourne I saw her kind of flick that switch against Serena but it was a little too late but she hasn’t worked it out since.

Let’s go back to Melbourne;

Simona was dropping the ball in and struggling, this gave Serena the opportunity from early on to come in and take it. The invitation on the short ball was too much to turn down as you can see below.

1

Image Credit – Australian Open

Serena pulls the forehand down the line for the winner and it set a theme here which was difficult to stop. I was in Melbourne watching and it was frustrating to see Halep play with any lack of depth. Halep could have explored a better angle on the forehand with the cross court she went for or opened up her body and pull it down the line putting Serena on the back foot.

It didn’t get better.

2

Image Credit – Australian Open

Another shot where Simona could have explored the angles and lines a bit more but continued to drop it short and Serena doesn’t even have to move more than a yard or two to strike another clean winner.

Finally we begin to see a change.

3

Image Credit – Australian Open

Down a set and a break we see Halep finally take some control.

We had less short balls on show and still maintained the same stance on the baseline but she altered it up. She went back behind Serena. Serena isn’t going to now hit a winner as she has to move back and adjust to the Halep shot, she is now in charge of that rally.

It continued for Halep.

4

Image Credit – Australian Open

She used the off-forehand and began to paint the lines however it was a little too late for the Romanian who over three just couldn’t see off Serena but a better start could have been massive for her.

Now, her loss to Amanda Anisimova in the quarter finals in Paris.

Second point of the match she didn’t move the ball well.

5

Image Credit – Roland Garros

The Anisimova forehand especially whilst in a rally is the danger shot and I was stunned to see Halep go there but to go there without power and depth caused big problems. She sent out another invitation saying hit it!

She could have gone down the line and forced an extra shot as it would be unlikely for Amanda to pull the backhand winner but the short and powerless invitational forehand lined Amanda up for the winner.

Match point down it was a similar story.

6

Image Credit – Roland Garros

She had a backhand with time and dropped it in-front of Amanda instead of even trying to really push and explore the down the line. I didn’t get it. Tactically once again I felt her performance justified the defeat.

If you look at who she has lost to this season;

Barty
Serena
Bencic
Mertens
Vondrousova x2
Pliskova
Bertens

Anisimova

Is it really a surprise? All of them are big on the baseline and like to dominate there so it is up to Halep and her team to find a way around it.

You won’t find a formula that will turn all those defeats into wins. Halep for me is a player who is strong at defending to begin with and makes your play the extra shots which I don’t think she is doing at the moment but isn’t playing the right shots herself.

I think she needs to explore more. She is one of the best at planning and executing but this year it has been badly planned and I think she has to look at cutting off options for her opponents and either go to their feet with conviction or look to go back behind them. 

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