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Halep vs Hercog WTA Eastbourne live streaming, preview and tips - Halep continues transition to grass with third round clash against Hercog

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 26 Jun 2019
  • Simona Halep vs Polona Hercog is live from Eastbourne around 2.00pm local time/BST on Wednesday
  • Halep won their only previous tour-level meeting in three sets earlier this year in Miami
Simona Halep (PA Images)

Former World No. 1 Simona Halep targets a spot in the Nature Valley International quarter-finals in Eastbourne on Wednesday when she takes on Polona Hercog.

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Simona Halep looks to reach the Nature Valley International quarter-finals for the second time on Wednesday as she squares off against Polona Hercog.

Playing her first match since suffering a shock loss to Amanda Anisimova in the quarter-finals of her French Open title defence, Halep was almost flawless in a crushing 6-2 6-0 dispatch of Hsieh Su-Wei on Tuesday. Hsieh famously ended Halep’s nine-match winning streak as she knocked her out of Wimbledon last year, but the Romanian scored revenge in emphatic fashion on Tuesday, dropping just two games as she secured victory in just 53 minutes. Halep credited a rare appearance in doubles with countrywoman Raluca Olaru - where the pair beat top seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yi-Fan earlier in the week - with helping her immediately adjust to the lawns.

"It felt really well because I played great tonight, and I felt the ball a lot," Halep said after the match. "The doubles match I played definitely helped me a lot for today."

It’s been a bit of an underwhelming season for Halep so far in 2019. Coming off a difficult end to 2018 as she shut down her season early with a back injury and split with super-coach Darren Cahill, Halep hasn’t been able to generate any sort of significant momentum throughout the year, missing two chances to reclaim the No. 1 ranking, losing to Karolina Pliskova in the Miami semi-finals and to Kiki Bertens in the Madrid final, while she’s currently slipped down to No. 7 in the world after she was eliminated by Anisimova in the French Open quarter-finals.

Halep also lost to teenager Marketa Vondrousova in the Round of 16 at Indian Wells and the R32 in Rome and hasn’t won a title since the Canada Open in August last year. There’s still time for Halep to turn her season around, but there’s no doubt her level has dipped since returning from her back injury, and right now she’s certainly not the threat she was for the bulk of 2018. Can she build up some momentum this week in Eastbourne? She’s on a collision course for Angelique Kerber in the quarter-finals, but first she must make it past a player that was close to beating her in Miami this year.

Polona Hercog stretched Halep to three sets in that third round encounter and has already played four matches this week in Eastbourne, qualifying for the main draw with victories over Jil Teichmann and Pauline Parmentier before moving past Barbora Strycova and Parmentier again in the second round, with the Frenchwoman earning entry into the main draw as a lucky loser. Hercog came back from a set down to prevail in a deciding set tiebreaker to earn a shot at Halep in the third round on Wednesday.

Ranked as high as World No. 35 back in 2011 after finishing runner-up to Venus Williams at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco the previous year and winning her first WTA title in Bastad that July - along with a reaching another final at the Palermo Open the following week - Hercog won her second career title when she defended her Swedish Open title in 2012, but until last year, that was her last appearance in a WTA final.

Hercog’s progress up the rankings stagnated as she hovered around the 60-100 mark, finding it tough to break through to the next level, while her career took a turn for the worst after the 2016 U.S. Open as she forced onto the sidelines for over eight months as she battled knee, shoulder and wrist injuries, while she also had surgery on her appendix. Dropping to as low as 260 in the world, Hercog wasted no time in quickly regaining her spot inside the top 100 in 2017, reaching the third round of Wimbledon and winning five ITF titles on clay, while she returned to her first WTA final since 2012 last year when she beat the likes of Aryna Sabalenka, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Maria Sakkari in Istanbul before falling to Pauline Parmentier. Hercog remains ranked at No. 60 coming into Eastbourne, but she has improved her ranking 30 spots since the start of the season as she went 0-3 in January, making the the third round of Miami before winning her first WTA title in seven years and third overall when she took out rising star Iga Swiatek for the Lugano crown on clay. Hercog also made the third round of Roland Garros and won a round in s-Hertogenbosch last week before touching down in Eastbourne.

As mentioned, Hercog came close to beating Halep in Miami, but the Romanian held firm to win the second set tiebreak before claiming a 5-7 7-6(1) 6-2 victory. Hercog hits with a lot of spin, so hardcourt and clay are her better surfaces, but she has made it to the third round of Wimbledon before and remains a threat. However, Halep was in terrific form against Hsieh, and if she plays to that level again, she should be able to handle everything Hercog throws at her and make the quarter-finals.


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Halep vs Hercog WTA Eastbourne live streaming, preview and tips - Halep continues transition to grass with third round clash against Hercog

Former World No. 1 Simona Halep targets a spot in the Nature Valley International quarter-finals in Eastbourne on Wednesday when she takes on Polona Hercog.

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