When You Play “lil” Simona, Odds are You’re A Goner


If after a first set 2-6 loss and down a break 3-2 in the second of yesterday’s Indian Wells final, you’d have said  Simona Halep would win, I’d have implored you for a bit of whatever you were smoking.Simona H

Though the match may have left some feeling it lacking in quality, incontrovertibly it was emotionally compelling.

While Jelena Jankovic continually jabbered to her box, so much so that she received a warning from the chair umpire, Halep displayed obvious displeasure with her own game. On several occasions, she vented frustration by executing triple racket swipes perilously close to the court surface.

She even tossed her stick at one point. Though I understood the reasons for that behavior, I’d never seen it from her before.

Clearly, she was, how shall I put it, not out of control but definitely, “out of sorts.”

She was at a loss for her “A” game. Hell, I’d be hard pressed to say she even had a solid “B” game. B- maybe, C+ at best. Yet, somehow she managed to claw, scratch and fight from a most precarious trailing position much of the match to ultimately hoist a heavy trophy for this very weighty event.

Jankovic, had a clearly defined game plan. She was determined to leave her comfort zone (defensive counter-puncher) to play a more offensive brand of tennis. She often played inside the baseline, relentlessly moving forward at crucial moments taking points or forcing mistakes from Halep.

And while Jankovic was the clear aggressor, and did indeed execute her plan, Halep made an uncharacteristically high number of unforced errors.

That happens. It’s simply impossible to always have your very best stuff when you need it most. But what Halep showed the world yesterday is that, she never gives up…never!

That will to win, that willingness to fight on regardless of how hopeless the situation appears is a quality that only true champions possess.

If I were ever somehow drawn into a bar-room brawl, Halep was present, and I had an option to pick between a big brawny guy and Halep to help me through the confrontation, Simona would be my selection cause I know, beyond doubt, that she would fight and I mean fight for all she’s worth, to the bitter end.

She’s little but tough,

strong but not gruff.

A big heart in a small frame

hell bent on winning each game.

She’s got guts, panache and immense appeal

She’s Simona, a champion, and clearly the real deal.

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10 thoughts on “When You Play “lil” Simona, Odds are You’re A Goner

  1. Great insight, observations and poetry. What out next time for “triple racket swipes.”

  2. Nice one. A joy to read. A joy to watch her playing tennis even in one of her bad days. At least for every supporter that she has out there, win or lose, she is worth all the money and emotions that u invest in her. She will commit to that match as if her life depends on that. She never lets down her fans, she amaze her fans!
    Love the girl , a fresh air that WTA needed so much .
    A tiny fighter , A huge champion ! And there is more to come.

    • @Clau Thanks for reading and glad you enjoyed. Halep is truly worth following. I’m hoping to see, in the coming months, an improved serve off which she can get occasional free points and a stronger down-the-line forehand. Those two things alone will up her game to even greater heights.

    • @Christi Br Thank you. Halep is a source of inspiration. Her play and demeanor motivate me to pen words about what I had the pleasure of witnessing. Yep, definitely want her in my corner in a brawl. She’d give as tough as she received.
      Thanks for your comment.

  3. Nice writting, as usual.
    I still don’t know how on the Earth did she managed to win that final after first awful set.

    • @Christian A I think for Halep, it’s all about war. When things seem most grim, the battle must continue. She simply refuses to yield and that’s what got her the victory despite not having her “A” game. Though I’ve come to expect the display of heart from her, I too was astonished that she pulled that one out. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Correct!
    Watching the match on the net, I thought at least twice I would do heart attack! Anyway, she showed us, adjusting her faulty inaccurate game to an acceptable one, with fewer mistakes, that she has brain and she use it! It was very tough to watch her playing at max of 60-70% of her capacity.
    Now what’s your estimation about Miami? I have read Ubha’s prediction , but …

    • @Mihai Moga Glad you didn’t “do heart attack!” I like the way you put that. It was truly amazing to witness that tough little lady fight her way to victory.
      Miami? I think she should skip it if possible and get ready for the French. She needs to rest, recuperate and savor this moment in time. It’s her greatest triumph to date. Don’t forget, she damn near won the French last year. One service break in the third…

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