Wimbledon: Simona Halep fends off Beatriz Haddad Maia

In a tough second round encounter, second-seeded Halep eventually saw off a tough challenge from the unseeded Brazilian after a slow start.

Wimbledon: Simona Halep fends off Beatriz Haddad Maia
Simona Halep in action during her straight sets win over Beatriz Haddad Maia (Getty/Shaun Botterill)
Beatriz Haddad Maia
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Simona Halep

Second seed and French Open finalist Simona Halep made it through to the third round of Wimbledon on Wednesday, seeing off a tough challenge from unseeded Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia to reach the round of 32 following a 7-5, 6-3 victory on Court One.

Simona Halep in action during her victory earlier today (Getty/Shaun Botterill)
Simona Halep in action during her victory earlier today (Getty/Shaun Botterill)

Halep, who reached the quarterfinal at this tournament last year, fell a break down twice in the opening set, though eventually fought past the inexperienced Brazilian to seal victory against an opponent who showed some signs of promise throughout the one hour and thirty minutes the two were on court.

It was by far a perfect performance from the Romanian, who saw off Marina Erakovic in her opening match, though she is safely through to face Shuai Peng in the third round.

Halep survives tough Haddad Maia challenge to reach third round

It would have been understandable if Haddad Maia, making her first ever appearance on a Wimbledon show court, had been intimidated by the occasion in the early stages. However, the Brazilian was in full flight from the beginning and looked far more comfortable on court than the second seed, with Haddad Maia racing out to a 3-0 lead in the opening ten minutes, though some nervy play by the Brazilian saw Halep level things up at three games apiece.

Beatriz Haddad Maia proved to be a tough opponent for Simona Halep on Court One (Getty/Shaun Botterill)
Beatriz Haddad Maia proved to be a tough opponent for Simona Halep on Court One (Getty/Shaun Botterill)

After a few mid-set jitters, Haddad Maia seemingly recovered, hitting at full flow once again and breaking Halep’s serve for a 5-3 lead. However, with the Brazilian looking nervy, Halep was successful in frustrating her opponent, rallying and breaking Haddad Maia twice to put herself in the position to serve for the open set. Unlike the Brazilian, the second seed made no mistakes, holding to love to take the opener in 47 minutes.

After such a disappointing end to the first set for Haddad Maia, it would have been easy for her to crumble under the pressure. However, both herself and Halep really began to dig in, with very few simple service holds and several break points between the two being squandered. It was undoubtedly tight between the two, with neither women taking the set by the scruff of the neck through the opening six games, though that quickly changed as Halep began to make a move.

Simona Halep celebrates her second victory of Wimbledon (Getty/Shaun Botterill)
Simona Halep celebrates her second victory of Wimbledon (Getty/Shaun Botterill)

The Romanian, who had been fairly solid since falling 3-5 down in the first set, went a break up in the second set after four careless errors after the Brazilian, and Halep never really looked back following that. The second seed, a semifinalist at this tournament three years ago, became simply too strong for the Brazilian, who began to look slightly downhearted out on Court One. A love hold put Halep just a game a victory, and a scintillating cross-court forehand saw her break to seal victory in an hour and a half.

Tennis