Wimbledon: Simona Halep begins quest for top spot with comfortable win

Simona Halep got past a tricky opening test in the first round of the Wimbledon Championships as she managed to defeat Marina Erakovic in straight sets losing just five games in the process, triumphing after one hour and 13 minutes of play.

A bright start to the match for Erakovic saw her earn a break point while being 2-1 up in the first set, but Halep slowly became better as the match progressed after she rattled off three consecutive games to take the lead. From then on, she did not look back as she strolled to the win and looked to carve a deep run to get the number one ranking with a good result this fortnight.

Halep overcomes slow start

Erakovic made the perfect start to the match as she managed to fend off multiple break point opportunities in the first game, forcing errors out of Halep to get the narrow service hold. Some early jitters from Halep then allowed Erakovic to get to deuce in her first return game, but the Romanian stood solid to get the hold of serve. Erakovic looked like the better player on the court as she comfortably held serve before earning the first break point of the match with some inspired play. However, she failed to convert it after hitting a backhand unforced error and eventually saw her higher-ranked opponent return level on the scoreboard after coming back from the brink.

Marina Erakovic hits a forehand | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
Marina Erakovic hits a forehand | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

Three of the first four games went to deuce and soon it was Halep who managed to earn her first break point of the match. She converted her second break point in the game with an impressive backhand winner as she made the first breakthrough in the match, taking the early lead after the tight start. Halep then won her first comfortable game as she easily held her serve to love, consolidating the break to open up a 4-2 lead. Erakovic remained composed, though, as she came from 15-30 down to narrowly hold serve and keep herself in contention to win the first set. However, Halep was just playing too well as she won her 11th straight point on her service, putting herself just one game away from winning the first set. Serving for the set at 5-4, Halep had to overcome some nerves as she finally sealed up the set on her third set point after 41 minutes of play.

Simona Halep returns a serve | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
Simona Halep returns a serve | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

Halep strolls to the victory

Halep made the perfect start to the second set as she broke serve in the opening game, but Erakovic still showed that she would provide a tough fight after saving two break points before she was overwhelmed by the Romanian’s excellent offensive tennis. Halep’s serve continued to be untouchable as she comfortably held her serve to 15 and managed to consolidate the break, looking to close out the win in straight sets. With the momentum in Erakovic slowly running out, the second set was much more smooth-sailing for the higher-ranked player as she earned her second break of the set, further extending her lead.

However, Erakovic made an immediate reply as she got one of the breaks back as Halep started to lose her focus a little, committing some unforced errors. Nevertheless, the contender for the number one ranking this fortnight managed to regain her double break lead quickly, producing some great forehands in the process. Even though there was a rain delay, it did not affect Halep's momentum as she was able to hold her serve, but not without any troubles as she had to fend off two break points along the way to secure her service game narrowly, placing her just one game away from the victory. The win was finally sealed with Halep forcing an error out of Erakovic after just 73 minutes of play, booking her place in the second round.

Both players exchange a handshake after the match | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
Players exchange a handshake after the match | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

Stats Corner: Halep was less erratic 

Despite it being a great match, both players put in more unforced errors than winners throughout the whole affair. Erakovic hit just a mere seven winners in 73 minutes but committed a staggering 31 unforced errors in the process. Halep performed a little better in this area as she hit 24 unforced errors to go along with 19 winners, being the more aggressive of the two. Both players won a similar number of first service points, but the second serve was the crucial aspect of this match. Erakovic failed to make an impact on her second serves as she just won 30 percent of those points, as compared to an impressive 64 percent by Halep.

Simona Halep applauds the crowd after the win | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
Simona Halep applauds the crowd after the win | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

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