Simona Halep acknowledged changing surfaces is never easy but she was glad that she was able to kick off her summer on hard courts with a win over Cristina Bucsa. Halep, the third-seeded player in the Washington draw, defeated qualifier Bucsa 6-3 7-5 in her Washington opener.
"I think every time you change surfaces it's difficult, and you need a little bit of time to get used to it," Halep said after her victory, per the WTA website. "I struggled a little bit today, but it was really good that I could finish it in two sets.
[Bucsa is] a tough opponent, we played for the first time, and so it was not easy, and I'm really happy to go through."
Halep closed out Bucsa in two sets
Halep blew an early first set break but broke Bucsa once again in the sixth game and then held on to her serve the rest of first set to clinch the opener.
After winning the first set, Halep broke Bucsa twice in the second set to open a 5-2 lead. Down by a set and two breaks, Bucsa refused to quit and she claimed back-to-back breaks to tie the second set to five games apiece.
But Halep was able to get her focus back as she broke Bucsa again in the 11th game and served out for the match in the following game. This week, Halep is aiming to win her first title since hiring coach Patrick Mouratoglou.
In Washington, Halep revealed Mouratoglou made her love the game again. “What I can say in this moment it’s the best thing that could happen to me, to meet Patrick. He has super energy. He’s super kind. So it means a lot for me to work with people like this.
All his experience and all his advice is amazing, so I’m enjoying a lot this period. He brought me back to love tennis, to love working, which never happened before," Halep said of Mouratoglou. Halep plays in the last-16 either Madison Brengle or Anna Kalinskaya.