Simona Halep made easy work of Karin Knapp, who is drastically falling down the ranking list. The Romanian dominated on her serve and return to sweep past the Italian. Halep denied Knapp of more than two games in their second round match as she built off her convincing first round.
Romanian wins six straight games
Halep and Knapp faced off for their second career matchup when they took to Manolo Santana Stadium to open up Tuesday’s Mutua Madrid Open action. The second round clash began to the liking of the Italian after she broke Halep to 30 in the opening game. But the sixth seed was quick to break back to level the set at one game apiece. Halep consolidated her break with a hold, and soon followed with another divine return game as she maneuvered Knapp around all parts of the court. The Romanian continued to penetrate the court with her well-struck backhand to see her break again for a 5-1 advantage.
The 2014 Roland Garros runner-up seemed to be without problems up against the two-time WTA singles title victor. She stepped up to the service line to serve for a one-set lead. She soon found herself up 40-30 as she held a set point against the Italian. Halep concluded a one-sided first set after a Knapp backhand return dumped into the net. The 6-1 first set win win did not pass the 30 minute mark with the sixth seed dictating throughout to put her within a set of the third round.
Halep wastes no time to clinch straightforward triumph
The errors continued to spring off the world number 75’s racquet as she dropped yet another service game. The Romanian stayed in-form to hold for a two games to love lead after a grueling deuce game. But Knapp showed signs of resilience by displaying her skills on offense to hold for her first time in the match. Halep remained steady with fierce aggression from all aspects of the court to eventually find herself up a set and a double break, 6-1, 4-1.
The first 12 games of the match were somewhat competitive, until the world number seven pushed through to just drop one point in the final two games. A powerful forehand return winner slid past Knapp at the baseline to end her Mutua Madrid Open campaign, and boosted the sixth seed to the third round. The 6-1, 6-1 victory for the sixth seeded player took an hour and two minutes in front of the buzzing Spanish crowd.
11-time WTA title winner books clash with second-ranked Swiss
Halep will continue her run in Madrid on Wednesday against Timea Bacsinzky. The pair is among the five seeds remaining in the draw after lopsided misfortunes for the seeds in the opening rounds. Both players are in strong form heading into their third round clash, and will fight out on the intense stage in their fourth career meeting.