Miami: Simona Halep makes furious start but then loses first match since doping ban

Halep suffered a three-set loss to Paula Badosa in the Miami first round.

by Dzevad Mesic
Miami: Simona Halep makes furious start but then loses first match since doping ban
© Getty Images Sport - Michael Reaves

Simona Halep made a very strong start to her first match back and appeared to be cruising toward a routine Miami win but then her level dropped and Paula Badosa created a big comeback. 

On Tuesday, former world No. 1 Halep officially returned to tennis after having her doping ban reduced earlier this month. Unfortunately for Halep, she didn't manage to end on the winning side in her first match back after former world No. 2 Badosa came back to win their Miami first-round match 1-6 6-4 6-3. 

Early in the match, Halep looked in good shape and very sharp in her shots. Also, things were looking great for Halep early on, who very easily won the first set and then also had a break point for a 2-0 lead in the second set. 

Simona Halep
Simona Halep© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

But after Badosa won that second game of the second set, the momentum shifted and that was the moment when the Spaniard's comeback started. 

How Badosa came back to beat Halep?

After the match started with Badosa serving out to love the opening game, Halep went on a big run, claiming back-to-back breaks in the third and fifth games en route to opening a 4-1 lead. 

In the sixth game, Badosa had her first break points of the match but Halep saved a total of five break points en route to winning that lengthy game and taking a 5-1 lead. After preventing Badosa from getting her first break of the match, the Romanian broke the Spaniard for the third time in the match in the seventh game to seal the first set in a very impressive way. 

Simona Halep
Simona Halep© Getty Images Sport - Al Bello

After winning the last six games of the first set, Halep also served out the opening game of the second set and had a chance to also win her eighth consecutive game but didn't convert a break point in the second game. After avoiding going down by an early second-set break and ending Halep's run of seven consecutive games, Badosa earned her first break of the match in the third game. 

Serving to stay in the second set, Halep saved a set point and then received a medical timeout for a treatment on her shoulder. However, not realizing a set point in the ninth game didn't impact Badosa, who realized her fourth set point in the 10th game to send the match into a decider.

After winning the second set, Badosa also got the first break of the third set in the third game but her lead was short-lived as Halep instantly got the break back in the following game. But after just getting the break back, the Romanian dropped her serve again as Badosa again went up by a break in the fifth game. 

In the ninth game - with Badosa leading 5-3 and Halep serving to stay in the match - the Spaniard broke the Romanian for the third time in the third set to complete her comeback win.

Simona Halep Paula Badosa