‘It’s always special’ – Simona Halep coach heralds win in first match of new partnership
The burgeoning working relationship between Simona Halep and Patrick Mouratoglou is off to a good start as the former world number one moved into the second round of the Madrid Open.
The two-time Madrid champion defeated China’s Zhang Shuai 6-2, 6-3 to set a meeting with home talent and de facto top seed Paula Badosa in a tough second round match-up.
The match was a first for Halep since she and Mouratoglou announced earlier this month that they would begin working together.
Mouratoglou tweeted after Halep’s win: “The first match of a new collaboration is always special.
“Couldn’t have asked for a better debut (as a team)!”
Currently ranked 21st in the world, Halep is hoping to return to her highest heights with the help of Mouratoglou, including aiming to add more Slams to her 2018 Roland Garros and 2019 Wimbledon titles.
The Frenchman has a strong track record, having coached 23-time Major singles winner Serena Williams for a decade, in which time the American won 10 of her 23 Slam singles titles.
The first match of a new collaboration is always special ✨
— Patrick Mouratoglou (@pmouratoglou) April 28, 2022
As mentioned, Halep will need to bring her A-game against Badosa after the Spaniard despatched world number 25 Veronika Kudermetova 6-3, 6-0 in barely an hour on court.
The pair have never met before on the WTA tour.
While Halep won in Madrid back-to-back in 2016 and 2017, Badosa will be eager to impress her home crowd and go even further than her surprise run to the semi-finals as a wildcard last year.
🎾 Read >> World’s best tennis magazine
🎾 Watch >> How to enjoy ATP/WTA/Slam tennis on TV
🎾 Gambling >> Betway tennis odds