Simona Halep has been battling to readjust to the rigors of competition – can she get her first straight-sets win…
Simona Halep has been battling to readjust to the rigors of competition – can she get her first straight-sets win of the week in Prague against lucky loser Magdalena Frech?
Halep vs Frech is live from Prague on Friday 14 August at 2pm local/1pm BST
World no. 2 Simona Halep is now on a six-match winning streak, having won the Dubai Championships in February and returned from a six-month hiatus to win back-to-back matches at the Prague Open.
Wins haven’t come easily for Halep though, who has had to go the distance twice and struggled physically on Thursday. With no rest day to recover, will her body let her down as she takes on Frech in Friday’s quarterfinals?
Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.
How to watch Halep vs Frech live
Prague Open matches including Halep vs Frech are streamed live alongside odds and in-play betting at bet365.
1. Click here to go to bet365
2. Sign in or open an account and deposit £5 or more
3. Go to tennis > WTA Prague > Simona Halep vs Magdalena Frech
Halep vs Frech: Head-to-head
This will be the first meeting between Halep and Frech.
Halep vs Frech: Preview
Halep’s first set at the Prague Open looked like the world no. 2 had barely missed a week, let alone six months, since winning the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships back in February. But everything since then has been a bit of a struggle.
Having squeaked past Polona Hercog, an admittedly tough veteran, in a third-set tie-break, Halep lost Wednesday’s doubles match with Barbora Strycova in a match tie-break, then dropped the first set to Barbora Krejcikova on Thursday. The Romanian was broken three times and served three double faults, winning just 10 of 25 points played on her serve, and although she broke Krejcikova back the first two times the Czech took the lead, once Krejcikova had held serve once the set was all but over.
Halep retrieved an early break in the second set, then found a sequence of aggressive points to lead 5-2 despite each game being close, but she couldn’t serve out the set and found herself having to break for it at 5-6. The Romanian had been feeling her shoulder, and she had an MTO for a neck issue before coming back from 0-2 down in the decider, reeling off six games to take the win 3-6, 7-5, 6-2.
The challenge of returning to competition after such a long time away from it was always going to be as much about the body adjusting back to match fitness as finding one’s game again, and Halep did talk about her back spasming after winning the first set against Hercog. But she is unlikely to want to take any chances, so it would not be a major surprise if she pulled out ahead of Friday’s quarterfinal against Frech.
Lucky loser French is into her very first WTA quarterfinal in Prague at the age of 22. The Pole hit her career-high ranking of world no. 115 in July 2018 but has yet to break into the top 100, dropping back to her current rank of world no. 175. A frequent sight in WTA Tour qualifying draws, Frech qualified for her first WTA Tour event of the season in Lyon in February. When the season restarted, she lost to Kaja Juvan in the first round of qualifying in Palermo, but got her revenge on Juvan in Prague qualifying only to lose to Lesia Tsurenko.
Wins over qualifier Elena Ruse and Arantxa Rus have put Frech into her first quarterfinal and given her the opportunity to face a top-10 player for the second time, having lost 2-6, 2-6 to Sloane Stephens at the French Open in 2018.
Frech should be able to get more than four games against Halep this time because of the Romanian’s questionable physical state. If Halep takes the court, she should win in straight sets – but it wouldn’t be surprising if she pulled out.
Halep vs Frech: Prediction