Simona Halep and Heather Watson came into the match today with hopes of reaching the quaterfinal in Miami. Halep had the mental advantage before the match, as she had defeated Watson on the previous two occassions they had played.
Watson got off to a strong start in the match, but it was not good enough. After falling behind, Halep upped her game and started showing why she is number five in the world. In a match full of breaks, it was Halep who ended up prevailing. The Romanian took the match 6-3, 6-4, to progress in the tournament and end Watson's impressive run.
Halep Battles Back To Take The Set From Watson
Halep served first in the set, and soon found herself behind in the match as Watson capitalized on her first break point chance to win the game. Watson failed to consolidate the break, as she lost her service straight after. The British player fought off five break points but she could do nothing to prevent Halep from taking the game on the sixth time of asking.
The set quickly turned into the battle of the breaks, as Watson broke Halep once again. Watson raced to a 0-40 lead in the game and despite Halep's best efforts, the Romanian could do nothing to prevent Watson from going ahead in the game. The British number two then consolidated the break by holding her serve to love.
Watson seemed to have all of the momentum, however Halep upped her game and the tide in the match quickly shifted in the direction of the world number five. In the fifth game, Halep held her serve for the first time in the match to keep herself within touching distance of Watson. The world number five, then took her first break point opportunity to break Watson's serve and level the score in the set.
From here, Watson did not win another game as Halep took control of the set. After consolidating the break of serve, Halep went on to break Watson once more. The Romanian found herself 0-40 up on Watson's serve. The British player fought of two of the break point opportunites, but she could do nothing to prevent Halep from capitalizing on the third chance.
After the break of serve, Halep had the opportunity to serve for the set. The Romanian did not let the pressure of this get to her, as she comfortably held her serve to love, to take the set on the first time of asking.
Halep Gets Decisive Break
The start of the second set was completely different to that of the first as both players comfortably held their opening service games. The first break point chance in the set came duing the third game and went in the direction of Halep. The Romanian could not capitalize on the opportunity, as Watson fought back to hold her service.
It was not until the fifth game of the set that the first break was seen. Halep worked herself into a position where she had two opportunities to break Watson's serve. The British player managed to prevent Halep from taking one of the chances, but she could do nothing to stop Halep for capitalizing on the second opportunity and putting herself in a commanding position in the match.
Like in the first set, one break of serve sparked another. Watson battled her way back into the set, as she took her first break point opportunity to put the set back on serve. The 23-year-old failed to consolidate the break of serve as Halep put herself back in the lead.
With both players struggling to win on their service games, it looked like the set was going to continue being a battle of the breaks. In the eigth game though, Halep managed to hold her service to keep herself ahead in the set. Watson then won her service game, which kept her within touching distance of the world number five.
Unfortunatly for Watson, Halep took the match in the very next game. The Romanian held her service game to love, to take the game, set and match and progress in the tournament. By winning this match, Halep sets up a quater final clash with Timea Bacsinszky.