TennisSection previews the 2021 WTA Madrid Open as Simona Halep (3) meets Saisai Zheng in the Second Round on Sunday May 2nd, 2021.
The Romanian star Simona Halep is one of the top contenders to win the title here and is playing at a very high level so far here at the 2021 WTA Madrid Open. Can the unseeded Saisai Zheng of China cause the massive upset by defeating the former champion and world number one?
Simona Halep is currently ranked #3 in the WTA world rankings and is currently seeded #3 here at the 2021 WTA Madrid Open. A former world number one, she has not quite been able to replicate the success that she is accustomed to recently. However she reached the Semi-Final in Stuttgart despite not playing her best tennis, and seems to be slowly rounding into form ahead of Roland Garros. A former two time champion here in Madrid, she is one of the main contenders for the title here in Madrid and was outstanding in her First Round win over Sara Sorribes Tormo. The Spaniard has been having an outstanding year but Halep dominated this match from start to the finish, dictating play from the baseline with her penetrating groundstrokes. She enters this match against Saisai Zheng as the huge favorite and it is hard to see her losing here.
Saisai Zheng is currently ranked #57 in the world and has been as high as #34 a few years ago. The Chinese player has not been in the best of form so far this season, not reaching the Round of 16 in any event thus far. Zheng overcame a tough battle with Magda Linette in the First Round, winning 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 in a see-saw battle where she did well to remain composed in the difficult situations. Saisai Zheng is a very consistent baseline player who has had success on clay in the past, but lacks a major weapon that is usually required to defeat top players such as her opponent Simona Halep. She is the heavy underdog in this Second Round encounter and will have to be at her absolute best to even make this remotely competitive.
This will be the third meeting between the two players, with Simona Halep leading the head to head series 2-0. The Romanian won both of those matches in straight sets, but they have not played against each other since 2018 at Wimbledon. I expect this match to be no different. Halep is simply a much better player than Saisai Zheng and she should win this match comfortably. While it is true that she has not been at her best lately, she has more than enough quality to see off this challenge, and will advance to the Round of 16 with ease.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Simona Halep to win in straight sets.