Simon Halep lifted off with a 6-0, 7-5 Friday defeat of Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo, displaying her love of the attitude which tends to produce fast-paced clay tennis at the Madrid Masters.
The first-round win kicked of the third-seeded double tournament winner’s chase for another trophy at the Caja Magica.
The Romanian won the event in 2016 and repeated a year later. Spain’s No. 2 Sorribes Tormo put up a fight in 83 minutes before Halep improved her Madrid record to 26-7.
The home player threatened in the second set from 5-1 down against the seed, levelling at 5-all before Halep rescued the win as she began the bid for a 10th career trophy on clay.
She has played in four finals here, losing in 2014 (Maria Sharapova) and 2019 (Kiki Bertens).
Halep said that competing at 650 metres above sea level has become second nature to her in the Spanish capital.
“It’s nothing special really, you just get used to it. If you practise a few times, you get used to the conditions.
“I like the altitude. I feel good because I have extra power hen I hit the ball; it’s better for me.
“This is just a clay court, the other conditions don’t matter. I feel good, I feel confident.”
Two-time 2021 WTA finalist Daria Kasatkina beat Halep’s Romanian compatriot Irina-Camelia Begu, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(1) in three hours.
The Russian winner missed her chances on five match points leading 5-2 and did the same at 6-5; she finally advanced to the second round on an eighth opportunity thanks to a tiebreaker.
Main photo:- Simona Halep winning in Madrid – WTATennis.com