Simona Halep

Simona Halep  born 27 September 1991 is a Romanian professional tennis player. She is the current world No. 1 on the WTA Tour, a ranking she first achieved in October 2017. Halep first broke into the world’s top 50 at the end of 2012, reached the top 20 in August 2013, and finally the top 10 in January 2014. She won her first 6 WTA titles in the same calendar year in 2013 (a feat that was last achieved by Steffi Graf in 1986 when she won her first 7), being named the WTA’s Most Improved Player at its end, as well as being named ESPN Center Court’s 2013 Most Improved Player.

Halep won her first major tournament at the 2018 French Open, having previously lost in the 2014 French Open, 2017 French Open and 2018 Australian Open finals. She also reached the final of the 2014 WTA Finals, losing to Serena Williams in straight sets after having defeated her earlier in the tournament. Halep continued her success throughout the 2015 and 2016 seasons, winning 3 titles in each respective season (including 2 Premier Mandatory titles) and remaining within the Top 10.

Halep was the most clicked player on for two consecutive years (2014–2015), when she was awarded the WTA Most Popular Player of the Year prize. After the 2017 Wimbledon Championships, Simona Halep became the active player with the most consecutive weeks within the Top 10. Halep has also won WTA’s Fan Favorite Singles Player in 2017.

She was given the award of Cetățean de onoare (“Honorary Citizen”) of the city of Bucharest in 2018.

Born in Constanța, Halep started playing tennis at the age of 4, in emulation of her older brother. At age 6, she was practicing daily. At age 16, she relocated to Bucharest to further her tennis career. She named Justine Henin and Andrei Pavel as two of her idols when she was younger.

Simona Halep started the season at the Shenzhen tournament where she lost in the second round to Kateřina Siniaková after beating Jelena Jankovic. Halep’s next tournament was the Australian Open where she lost in the first round to Shelby Rogers. It was her second first-round exit in a row. Halep later stated she was struggling with a left knee pain.

Halep’s next tournament was 2017 St. Petersburg Ladies’ Trophy. Simona was the first seed of the tournament, so she received a bye into the second round. In the second round, she beat Ana Konjuh in straight sets but was forced to withdraw from her quarterfinal against the wildcard Natalia Vikhlyantseva after her ongoing left knee injury. She also missed Romania’s Fed Cup tie against Belgium. At the BNP Paribas Open, Halep received a first round-bye and beat Donna Vekic before losing to Kristina Mladenovic for the third time in her career. She then played at the Miami Open where, after another first round-bye, she beat Naomi Osaka, Anett Kontaveit and Samantha Stosur en route to the quarterfinals, where she lost to eventual champion Johanna Konta in three sets, having served for the match in the second set. Prior to the clay season, Halep joined Romania’s Fed Cup team for their tie against Great Britain, beating Heather Watson and Johanna Konta and helping Romania win 3–2.

Halep kicked off her clay season with a run to the semifinals at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, beating Barbora Strýcová and Anastasija Sevastova before losing to eventual champion Laura Siegemund. She then entered the Mutua Madrid Open as the defending champion and regained the title defeating Kristýna Plíšková, Roberta Vinci, Samantha Stosur, Coco Vandeweghe (losing only two games), Anastasija Sevastova, and Kristina Mladenovic en route to the championship. Due to her title defense, Halep, who was ranked as the World No.8 during the tournament, returned to the Top 5. Halep continued her success in Rome, beating Laura Sigemund (grabbing her first win over the German), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Anett Kontaveit and Kiki Bertens before losing in the three-set final to Elina Svitolina, while also sustaining an ankle injury during that match.

Simona Halep started her season by winning the Shenzhen Open. She defeated Nicole Gibbs, Ying-Ying Duan, Aryna Sabalenka and Irina-Camelia Begu to reach the final, where she won against defending champion Katerina Siniakova. Halep also won her first WTA doubles title at the tournament, partnering Begu, by defeating Siniakova and Barbora Krejcikova in the final.

At the Australian Open, she defeated the Australian Destanee Aiava in the first round in two sets and in the second round was victorious in straight sets against Eugenie Bouchard. In round three she survived three match points against Lauren Davis in a match lasting 3:45 hours, taking the third set 15–13. The match equaled the Australian Open record for most games played in a women’s singles draw match at 48 — equaling Chanda Rubin’s 1996 quarterfinal win over Arantxa Sánchez Vicario.

She went on to defeat Naomi Osaka in the 4th round in straight sets and former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals, also in straight sets. She faced former world No. 1 and 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber in the semifinals. In the 3rd set, she saved two match points and went on to win, qualifying for the Australian Open final for the first time.

In the final, Halep was defeated by Caroline Wozniacki in three sets. Occasion where Wozniacki won her first Grand Slam.

In the month of February, she went to Doha where she reached the semifinals before withdrawing prior to her match against Garbine Muguruza because of a right foot injury. Nevertheless, despite not playing the next week, she returned to the top spot.

Halep then reached the semifinals in Indian Wells, including two tough three setters in the third round and quarterfinals. However, she only won three games against eventual champion Naomi Osaka in her first defeat against the Japanese No. 1. In Miami, she lost in the third round to 2012 champion Agnieszka Radwanska.

She kicked off her clay court campaign by leading Romania against Switzerland in their World Group Play-off tie in Cluj-Napoca. By virtue of a 3-1 victory with Halep going 2-0 in the singles rubbers, they secured a place in the 2019 World Group for the first time in two years. She also suffered quarterfinal defeats in Stuttgart and Madrid where she lost to Coco Vandeweghe and Karolina Pliskova respectively.

Halep reached the final at Rome in a rematch of last year’s final against Elina Svitolina, but lost in straight sets.

At the French Open, Halep defeated Alison Riske, Taylor Townsend, Andrea Petkovic, sixteenth seed Elise Mertensand the twelfth seed Angelique Kerber. In the semifinals she faced the third seed, current Wimbledon champion, 2016 French Open champion and former No. 1 Garbiñe Muguruza and she won in straight sets to reach her second consecutive final in Paris, where she faced tenth seed and US Open champion Sloane Stephens. In the final, Halep lost the first set but won sets two and three to secure her first major title after three previous finals appearances, including two at the French Open.

Halep’s current clothing sponsor is Nike, after signing the contract in February 2018. Before 2018, Halep had her apparel supplied by Adidas and before May 2014, by Lacoste and her shoes by Nike. In November 2014 she also signed a deal with Vodafone Romania for three years. Halep endorses Hublot watches since 2016. As of 2017, Halep is a brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz Romania.

She was coached from an early age by Ioan Stan, a local tennis coach in Constanța. Halep has also previously been coached by Adrian Marcu, Andrei Mlendea and Firicel Tomai.

In January 2014, Simona Halep hired Belgian coach Wim Fissette, former coach of Kim Clijsters and Sabine Lisicki. At the end of the year, she chose to split with him and hired Romanian coach Victor Ioniță, with Thomas Högstedt serving as a coaching consultant for the first three tournaments of the year. In November 2015, Halep announced that Darren Cahill would be her full-time coach, starting in January 2016. She is managed by Virginia Ruzici. Her fitness coach is Teo Cercel.

Simona Halep was born in Constanța to Stere and Tania Halep, a family of Aromanian descent. Her father, a former football player at Săgeata Stejaru playing in the lower leagues, owns a dairy products factory. She has an older brother, Nicolae.

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