2014 finalist Simona Halep passed a tough test in Jana Cepelova to reach the second round at the French Open.
WTA Staff

PARIS, France - No.4 seed Simona Halep digs out of a tough encounter with Jana Cepelova, 6-2, 6-3, to reach the second round at Roland Garros.

“I'm just another player in the draw,” Halep said after her decisive victory. “I have confidence that I can win matches, but I'm not thinking about the results. I just want to take match by match, and of course every match I play I want to win it. I only have this is in my mind.”

Halep entered the French Open under an injury cloud after rolling her ankle at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia final against Elina Svitolina.

“I still feel a little pain, but it's nothing dangerous, so I can play.

“It was a little bit difficult, but the last three, four days I practiced normally. I played some points in practice, and I didn't feel pain. But still, it's a little bit difficult, because when it's cold, it's gets a little bit swollen.

“But it looks much better than one week ago. I did the ultrasound Saturday. It's still a little bit broken, but it's like 80% recovered, so looks good and I have confidence that it's going to be okay this tournament.”

Though Cepelova had lost her last three matches heading into Paris, the Slovak had nonetheless knocked Halep out in their most recent encounter in 2015, when the two faced off in the first round of Wimbledon.

Showing few ill effects on the run, Halep played flawless defense to disarm Cepelova's cannonball-swinging forehand to advance in 67 minutes after getting moved to Court Suzanne Lenglen.

“I could have done better off the forehand, a little bit stronger. Maybe I was a little bit tight. I was a little bit nervous because I changed the court, so that’s not easy. I think in everything, I think I did well. I served pretty well after few games when I started to roll it a little bit more.

“So I think I was good today. In the second set, she came back a little bit stronger, and she hit the ball stronger, but I was there. I was strong on my legs. And I think I did a great game. It’s not easy against her, because I lost in Wimbledon.”

In all, Halep struck 11 winners to 23 unforced errors, while Cepelova made 10 winners to 29 unforced errors.

Up next for the Romanian is Germany's Tatjana Maria, with either Volvo Car Open champion Daria Kasatkina or Biel/Bienne winner Marketa Vondrousova looming later on.

“ I played when I was junior against her in Spain, so I remember that she hits a lot of slices. Actually, she hits only slices.

“I expect a tough one; it’s not easy to play with someone that mixes the rhythm. But I feel good with my legs, so I will run. I feel confident also with my shots. I played really well today. Serve is good.

“So I'm ready to play the next round. I didn't play against her since many years ago, so it's gonna be a big challenge for me. Second round, French Open, I'm just looking forward and to give everything to win it.”