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Halep vs Hsieh WTA Eastbourne Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Halep launches grass-court season against Hsieh in Eastbourne

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 25 Jun 2019
  • Simona Halep vs Su-Wei Hsieh is live from Eastbourne on Tuesday, 25 June from 5:00pm local time/ 5:00pm BST
  • Halep and Hsieh have split their two previous meetings
Simona Halep (PA Sport)

Former world No. 1, Simona Halep launches her grass-court season on Tuesday as she takes on the crafty Su-Wei Hsieh in the second round of the Eastbourne International.

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Halep is playing her first tournament since the French Open, where a stunning quarter final defeat to American young gun, Amanda Anisimova halted her title defence. The Romanian dropped out of the top five after Roland Garros, going as low as No. 8- her lowest ranking since May 2017. She enters Eastbourne at 7th in the rankings. 

Amazingly, Halep is closing in on a year without a WTA title, with her last success coming in August last season, when she defeated Sloane Stephens in the Montreal final. Part of the reasons for her drought was a back injury that ruled her out of the end of last season, but she has reported a fairly clean bill of health this year, and has just been unable to find that extra bit to push herself over the line. 

Not that she is having a bad season- she is 23-9, and has made finals in Doha and Madrid, and a semi-final in Miami, but she has not had that extra cutting edge that distinguished her from the rest of the tour for most of 2018 when she occupied the No. 1 ranking.
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Maybe she can finally end her drought on grass?

Halep usually plays one tournament before Wimbledon- s-Hertogenbosch between 2011 and 2014, Birmingham in 2015, Eastbourne in 2017, and none in 2016 and 2018. Her only title on the surface was in s-Hertogenbosch in 2013. The 28-year-old returns to Eastbourne for the second time in three years and opens against Su-Wei Hsieh on Tuesday.

It's a repeat of last year's Wimbledon third-round meeting when Hsieh battled back from 2-5 in the final set, saving a match point before pulling off a sensational 3-6 6-4 7-5 victory after two hours and 20 minutes.

Hsieh opened her Eastbourne campaign with a 6-3 4-6 6-4 victory over Italian Camila Giorgi, and will now attempt to record back-to-back wins for the first time since she made the quarter finals in Rabat in early May.

The 33-year-old had enjoyed a fine spell on hard courts in the opening quarter of the year, highlighted by a semi-final in Auckland, third round at the Australian Open, a fantastic semi-final in Dubai, where she scored top-ten wins over Angelique Kerber and Karolina Pliskova, and a quarter final in Miami, featuring more big wins over Naomi Osaka and Caroline Wozniacki, but she went off the boil significantly on clay, losing opening matches in Madrid and Rome, and faring just one round better in Stuttgart and Roland Garros. 

The only clay-court tournament where she strung wins together was in Rabat, where she defeated Daria Gavrilova and Lara Arraubarrena before falling to Johanna Konta in the last eight.

Apart from a three-week period after the Australian Open, Hsieh has spent all of 2019 inside the top 30, peaking at No. 24 after Miami, just one spot shy of her career-high ranking. 

The world No. 29 opened her grass-court season with victory over Aryna Sabalenka in Birmingham, but lost to Barbora Strycova in the next round. Can she get something going again in Eastbourne?

This will be only her third meeting with Halep, with both ladies splitting the previous two matches. Halep won in Cincinnati back in 2013, while Hsieh responded with that stunning victory at Wimbledon last year.

It's an intriguing one- Halep hasn't played a singles match since Roland Garros and hasn't played on grass in a year (although she did play a doubles match in Eastbourne on Sunday). It's a tough way to start the grass-court season for the Romanian, whose movement and sharpness will be immediately put to test by Hsieh. Also, now that they are reacquainted on grass, last year's Wimbledon contest will surely be on their minds.

There is an opportunity in there for Hsieh to record another big win over the former No. 1.

Simona Halep vs Su-Wei Hsieh is live from Eastbourne on Tuesday, 25 June from 5:00pm local time/ 5:00pm BST


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Halep vs Hsieh WTA Eastbourne Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Halep launches grass-court season against Hsieh in Eastbourne

Simona Halep faces a tricky start to her grass-court season as she takes on Su-Wei Hsieh in Eastbourne on Tuesday. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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