WTA Madrid: Simona Halep overpowers Misaki Doi

Simona Halep went up against Misaki Doi for the first time in the opening round at Mutua Madrid Open. It was a case of the right-handed player against the left-handed player for a spot in the second round.

It was Halep who got off to a lightning start, barely giving the Japanese any chance breaking her three times to steamroll in the first set. It looked to continue that way until Doi started her fight back. That fight did not last against the aggressive Halep who went on to seal the match 6-0, 6-3, dropping just three games in the process.

Halep barely troubled in one-sided opening set

Halep got off to a flying start hammering aggressive returns to get the immediate break. Doi herself was aggressively attacking Halep’s second serve but the Romanian hung on for 2-0. The Japanese though wasn’t able to keep it up going down a double break. Halep was cruising through by now extending her lead to 4-0.

Halep in cruise control | Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images
Halep in cruise control | Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images

Doi was again under pressure on her service game with Halep looking to pounce whenever there was a short ball or a second serve. Misery for Doi continued as Halep broke once more after an error from Doi for 5-0. The Romanian swiftly went on to close out the opening set without dropping a single game.

Doi fights back but Halep too strong

Halep was definitely not wasting any time continuing where she left off to find the early break in the second set. Doi eventually regrouped to get her first hold of the match in the third game for 1-2. That seemed to have settled her as she went on to create triple break back point. The Romanian could only save one before firing a forehand wide to hand Doi the break back for 2-2.

Doi mounts a fightback | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Doi mounts a fightback | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The Japanese won her third game in a row to lead for the first time, albeit on serve at 3-2. Halep kept in touch and continued attacking the second serve of Doi. And before long, she set up double break point opportunity with her big forehand. Doi fell short again as Halep took a 4-3 lead with the break of serve.

At 3-5 down, Doi had to serve to stay in the match. Halep with the pressure carved out match point with the help of the net cord. The net cord once again favored the Romanian as the ball trickled over to Doi’s side to give Halep a commanding straight sets victory.

Match by the numbers

Halep hit five aces in an overall good serving game. Doi on the other hand struggled with her serve making just 57 percent of first serves and hit a couple of double faults.

The aggressive Halep was finding so many winners off the baseline especially, hammering 19 winners while Doi managed just eight of her own. The Japanese did try to be aggressive to unsettle the Romanian but it backfired as she made a staggering 23 unforced errors to Halep's 11.

Halep also converted six break points out of eight created, while Doi could only capitalize on one of two chances.