Perfection. No one redirects the ball and creates space quite like Simona Halep!

In full swing no one redirects the ball and creates space quite like  quite like Simona Halep.

It is poetry in motion from the former world number one and she showed her her full repertoire of shots as she saw off Bianca Andreescu.

9 months ago in Melbourne I remember screaming (inside) watching her play Serena Williams as she played a lot of the match playing tentatively into space instead of thinking about it and going back behind. She did visit that back behind and got some joy off it and if she had that in mind early on could have won the match.

We saw her use it at Wimbledon with the slow courts there similar to what we have now in Shenzhen, really opening up her options with her shots. Instead of just playing into space she created space which is a big difference.

Anyone can play into space playing tennis but creating that space but taking a little risk and hitting the ball deeper will make a difference. You have to get your opponent on the back foot and after the first set against Bianca she certainly did that.

I’m going to start with this one, I know it is almost at the end of the second set but this shot deserves to be shout out.

Screenshot 2019-10-28 at 20.44.06 Photo credit – WTA

To be in this position, down match point and feet off the ground and pull off that flat backhand cross court is incredible. She doesn’t hit a winner but forces the error from Andreescu and saves match point.

Creating space and playing into space, redirecting the ball down the line;

Screenshot 2019-10-28 at 20.45.00
Photo credit – WTA

Forcing Andreescu out-wide, opening up the court and creating that space to take it to a tie-break having been match point down 60 seconds before.

And finally… redirecting neutral rallies.

Screenshot 2019-10-28 at 20.46.54
Photo credit – WTA

Neutral rally and Halep takes a risk and it pays off. It’s risky for Halep as she has to hit the shot sooner than she would if she was going cross court instead of hooking the forehand has to hit it clean and flat.

Nine times out of ten anyone goes cross court, you can see Bianca shifting over to the right side to cover and Halep pushes it up the line getting the break back.

Same again…

Screenshot 2019-10-28 at 20.49.10
Photo credit – WTA

Match point this time. Andreescu is scampering to cover cross court and Halep goes down the line back behind the Canadian.

It is such a small change but to devastating effect from the former world number one to redirect the ball and immediately put the opponent on the back foot.

The court in Shenzhen is quite slow and this would benefit Simona Halep more than most. Despite not playing much since Wimbledon and having some injury concerns you wouldn’t rule her out winning here if she continues like this.

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