Former world No. 1 Simona Halep delivered a dominant performance on Saturday to easily beat world No. 2 Paula Badosa. Halep, now ranked at No. 21 in the world, cruised past Badosa 6-3 6-1 to progress into the Madrid round-of-16.
The performance Halep delivered on Saturday reminded of the times when she was dominating the majority of her matches and clinching comfortable wins. In Madrid, Halep kicked off her partnership with her new full-time coach Patrick Mouratoglou.
Halep, who revealed this week she was thinking about retiring in 2021, wants to again win the biggest titles on the WTA Tour. After beating Badosa, Halep was asked if she felt that was "a vintage Halep performance."
"New Simona, I would say (smiling)," Halep told WTA Insider after the match.
"I will take this match as a boost and confidence, b/c I played with one of the best players in the world."
Q. Some people are describing your performance today as vintage. Did it feel like vintage Simona or was this Simona 2.0?
HALEP: New Simona, I would say (smiling).
I will take this match as a boost and confidence, b/c I played with one of the best players in the world.
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) April 30, 2022
Halep wins the first meeting versus Badosa
It didn't take long for Halep to claim the first break as she broke Badosa in the opening game and saved three consecutive breaks in the following game to open an early 2-0 lead.
Badosa broke back Halep in the fourth game and served out the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead in the first set. After losing three consecutive games, Halep broke Badosa in the seventh and ninth games to win four games in a row and seal the first set.
Halep didn't waste any time at the start of the second set as she earned back-to-back breaks to open a 5-0 lead. Badosa saved two match points in the sixth game to reduce the deficit to 5-1 but Halep served out for the match in the following game.
Halep playing well in Madrid shouldn't really be a surprise since is a four-time finalist at the tournament. Halep ended Madrid runner-up in 2014 but won back-to-back titles at the tournament in 2016 and 2017. Halep reached her last Madrid final in 2019. Back then, Halep suffered a surprise defeat to Kiki Bertens.