LONDON, Great Britain – No.2 seed Simona Halep made a victorious start to her Wimbledon campaign – and her bid for the WTA World No.1 ranking – after a commanding victory against New Zealander qualifier Marina Erakovic on Monday.
Her opponent Erakovic turned heads earlier in the season with a surprise music release titled The Mad Era, but couldn’t strike the right chords against Halep, falling 6-4, 6-1 after an hour and fifteen minutes.
“The grass court season is very fast after the clay when you go till the end in French Open,” Halep reflected on moving past her Roland Garros final defeat. “But it was good. I had some days off home.
“Then I just wanted to forget everything, to start again, which I did. I feel good now.”
Halep is one of three players who could leave SW19 with the No.1 ranking; she’ll need to reach at least the semifinals to have a chance to challenge Angelique Kerber’s top spot.
Against Erakovic, Halep showed herself to be firmly in control despite the variable conditions that brought wind and a spot of rain into their match. The Romanian earned the decisive lone break to get ahead 3-2, and the Erakovic hanged on to keep the pair on serve as Halep served out the opening set with ease.
It was a different story in the second; with the momentum behind her, Halep powered ahead to break the New Zealander four times in a row. Although Erakovic was able to get one of the breaks back and cut into Halep’s lead, she couldn’t manage to hold her serve against the No.2 seed.
“I knew she had a strong forehand,” Halep explained afterwards. “I didn't know actually that she's hitting so well the slice, so I had a little bit trouble in the first set. But then I got used to the rhythm. In the second set, it was much better.
“The court is a bit different than the practice courts - was tough to adjust.”
Halep will take on Beatriz Haddad Maia in the second round. The Brazilian dealt the first blow to English hopes for a home champion, taking down wildcard Laura Robson in a comprehensive 6-4, 6-2 victory.
Visit www.wimbledon.com to watch live streaming via ‘The Wimbledon Channel’.