JUST IN: Simona Halep receives nigthmare Miami draw in first comeback tournament

Halep, 32, set to start against a big name before potentially playing against another superstar name.

by Dzevad Mesic
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JUST IN: Simona Halep receives nigthmare Miami draw in first comeback tournament
© Getty Images Sport - Michael Reaves

Simona Halep has received an extremely difficult draw in Miami as the former world No. 1 is set to start against Paula Badosa before potentially facing Aryna Sabalenka in the following round. 

Earlier this month, 32-year-old Halep received the news from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) that her doping ban appeal was successful and that her four-year suspension was reduced to nine months. Since Halep had been suspended since 2022 October, that verdict meant she was free to immediately return to tennis and exactly that happened as just two days later Miami announced the Romanian as a main draw wildcard recipient. 

On Sunday, four-time Grand Slam champion Halep appeared in a main draw for the first time since the 2022 US Open. 

Unfortunately for Halep, she didn't have much luck with her draw as drawing former world No. 2 Badosa and then potentially having to play against reigning Australian Open champion Sabalenka certainly isn't the best of the draws she could have gotten. 

Simona Halep
Simona Halep© Getty Images Sport - Al Bello
 

Halep has a positive head-to-head against Badosa

On paper, Badosa is definitely not someone you want to face in the first round but Halep has actually done pretty well in her matches against the 26-year-old Spaniard so far. In 2022, the two met twice as Halep dominated Badosa 6-3 6-1 in Madrid before also ousting the Spaniard 6-1 6-2 at Wimbledon. 

Going into their Miami matchup, Halep hasn't played in just more than a year and a half and some rust is expected Also, it wouldn't be surprising to see Halep feeling some nerves in her first tournament since clearing her name in her doping case. 

Simona Halep
Simona Halep© Getty Images Sport - Al Bello
 

On the other side, Badosa has lately again been struggling with an injury - presumably a back injury - which forced her to skip Indian Wells. 

If Halep beats Badosa, she will then face Sabalenka for the sixth time in a match that would certainly highlight second-round action in Miami. Halep owns a 3-2 head-to-head against Sabalenka.

Simona Halep
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