Halep during a press conference at the draw of the 2014 Mutua Madrid Open
27 September 1991 |
|Height||1.68 m (5 ft 6 in)|
|Plays||Right-handed (two-handed backhand)|
|Coach(es)||Firicel Tomai (–2013)
Andrei Mlendea (2013)
Adrian Marcu (2013)
Wim Fissette (2014–)
|Career record||255–128 (66.6%)|
|Career titles||8 WTA, 6 ITF|
|Highest ranking||No. 2 (11 August 2014)|
|Current ranking||No. 2 (11 August 2014)|
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|Australian Open||QF (2014)|
|French Open||F (2014)|
|US Open||4R (2013)|
|Career titles||0 WTA, 4 ITF|
|Highest ranking||No. 146 (11 June 2012)|
|Current ranking||No. 987 (4 August 2014)|
|Grand Slam Doubles results|
|Australian Open||1R (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)|
|French Open||2R (2012)|
|Wimbledon||1R (2011, 2012, 2013)|
|US Open||2R (2011)|
|Last updated on: 4 August 2014.|
Simona Halep (Romanian pronunciation: [siˈmona ˈhalep]; born 27 September 1991) is a Romanian professional tennis player who is currently ranked world No. 2. Halep first broke into the world's top 50 at the end of 2012, then into the top 20 in August 2013, and then top 10 in January 2014 (after reaching the Australian Open quarterfinal). 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 reached the 2014 French Open final, her first Grand Slam final, where she played Maria Sharapova. She lost this final in three sets. She also played the semifinals at Wimbledon the same year, but lost to Eugenie Bouchard.
- 1 Career
- 2 Endorsements
- 3 Coaches
- 4 Playing style
- 5 Grand Slam tournament finals
- 6 Career statistics
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Halep started playing tennis at the age of four, 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.
She started the year 2008 playing in junior competitions, reaching the final in Nottinghill, where she lost to Arantxa Rus, then defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open Junior Championships, before losing in the semifinal to Jessica Moore. She went on to win a pair events in May and June. First, a victory in the finals at Trofeo Bonfiglio, winning over Bojana Jovanovski in two sets. Then, at the Roland Garros Junior Championships, she entered the main draw as the 9th seed. In the first round, she defeated Charlotte Rodier, then Karen Barbat from Denmark, and in the 3rd round Halep won against 5th seed Jessica Moore, in straight sets. In the quarterfinals, Simona beat 13th seed Ksenia Lykina, and in the semifinals, Halep defeated second seed Arantxa Rus. She closed things by winning the all–Romanian final in three sets against 10th seed Elena Bogdan.
She also started entering senior developmental ITF tournaments in the spring. Success arrived when she won two smaller ITF $10,000 tournaments in Bucharest (1 & 3) in April–May, against Elena Bogdan and then against Stéphanie Vongsouthi.
At the main ITF $50,000 tournament in Bucharest (2) in May, Halep eliminated former Roland Garros quarterfinalist Sesil Karatantcheva in the first round, before losing in the quarterfinals to Sorana Cîrstea in three sets. That was followed in June by a victory at the ITF $25,000 tournament in Sweden at Kristinehamn, by defeating the 5th seeded Anne Schaefer in the final.
She continued to play on the ITF circuit the entire of 2009, while also entering qualifying for main WTA tournaments at Paris Indoors in February and Roland Garros in May, losing in the 2nd round each time.
In April and May she met the first real successes. First, at the ITF $50,000 tournament in Makarska, Halep began her campaign with wins over Ana Vrljić of Croatia and an upset victory over Ksenia Pervak. She defeated Anne Schäfer, without dropping a game, and beat second seeded Arantxa Rus to advance to the final. However, Halep fell to the top seed Tatjana Malek in three sets. She then reached the quarterfinals at the Bucharest ITF $100,000 tournament, losing to Andrea Petkovic.
Making her first attempt to qualify for a senior Grand Slam tournament at Roland Garros, she defeated 17th seed Michaëlla Krajicek in her first match, but fell to Vitalia Diatchenko, in three sets in the following round.
In August, Halep won the ITF $25,000 tournament in Maribor, defeating top seed Katalin Marosi in the final in two sets. She also made the semifinals of the indoors ITF $50,000 tournament in Minsk, Belarus and ITF $25,000 tournament in Opole, Poland in November.
At almost 18 years old, Halep decided that her large bust was interfering with her game. She underwent breast reduction to reduce her bust size to 34C from 34DD. She explained the decision, saying, "It's the weight that troubles me. My ability to react quickly, my breasts make me uncomfortable when I play. I don’t like them in my everyday life, either. I would have gone for surgery even if I hadn’t been a sportswoman." She also experienced back pain. She later revealed her reduced bust size at the French Open in May 2010. Since the surgery, she has moved up over 450 places in the world rankings.
In January she entered the Australian Open, but lost to Stéphanie Foretz of France in the first round of qualifying. She was ranked 166 in the world as of 5 April 2010. Her breakthrough on the WTA tour occurred during the 2010 Andalucia Tennis Experience on the clay courts of Marbella, Spain. As a qualifier, she advanced to the quarterfinals with wins over world No. 70 Iveta Benešová and world No. 36 Sorana Cîrstea. She then put up a fight against world No. 16 Flavia Pennetta, but was finally beaten by the No. 2 seed. Halep then qualified for the 2010 Barcelona Ladies Open by winning 3 matches, but was defeated in the first round of the main draw by Carla Suárez Navarro. Halep's impressive form continued into the 2010 Grand Prix SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem in Fes. Seeded first in the qualifying round, she qualified by defeating Nathalie Viérin and Estrella Cabeza Candela. In the first round she defeated No. 8 seed Lucie Hradecká in two sets. In the second round she defeated Olga Savchuk before causing a big upset in the quarter-finals where she defeated No. 2 seed and former top 10 player Patty Schnyder in straight sets. In the semi-final she defeated Renata Voráčová to advance to her first WTA Tour Tournament final. But she lost to Voráčová's Czech compatriot Iveta Benešová in final. In May 2010 Halep qualified for the French Open, defeating Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the final round of qualifying. She was defeated in two sets in the first round by seventh seed Samantha Stosur. In August 2010 Halep faced Jelena Janković at the US Open in the first round. Halep had a chance to win an upset victory over Janković but was broken while serving for the match at 5–4 in the third. In the end, Janković won in three sets.
In January, she reached the quarterfinals in the 2011 ASB Classic defeating Ayumi Morita and Elena Vesnina, but losing to the second seed, Yanina Wickmayer. She would go then to the 2011 Moorilla Hobart International but she would lose in the third qualifying round, in a decisive set against Magdaléna Rybáriková. At the 2011 Australian Open, Halep qualified for the first time in her career in the third round of a tennis Grand Slam on seniors, beating the 24th seed Alisa Kleybanova before losing in straight sets to the 12th seed Agnieszka Radwańska and not progressing to the fourth round. In April at the 2010 Grand Prix SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem, she repeated her prior year's accomplishment of reaching the finals but lost to Alberta Brianti in straight sets.
At the 2011 Estoril Open, she was defeated in the first round by the eventual champion Anabel Medina Garrigues in two tiebreaks. At the 2011 French Open, Halep beat Alla Kudryavtseva, then lost to 8th seed Samantha Stosur in the second round. In the 2011 Wimbledon Championships, Halep defeated Bojana Jovanovski before falling to 7th seed Serena Williams in three sets in the second round. For the 2011 BCR Open Romania Ladies, Halep was top seeded and progressed to the semi-finals, defeating Maša Zec Peškirič, Lenka Juríková and Alexandra Cadanţu en route. However, she lost to Laura Pous Tió in the semi-finals.
Halep qualified for the main draw at the 2011 Rogers Cup in Toronto but drew 12th-seeded (and 15th-ranked) Svetlana Kuznetsova as her first opponent. After dropping the first set, Halep came back to win in a 2:14 long match that saw Kuznetsova make 50 unforced errors. It was Halep's first victory over a top-20 ranked player. She lost to Lucie Šafářová in the second round.
At the 2011 US Open, Halep was placed in the main draw but drew Li Na in the first round. Despite playing with an ankle sprain she had suffered in Toronto earlier in the month, Halep defeated the 6th-seeded Li in a match that saw Li make 54 unforced errors to Halep's 19. It was Halep's first win over a top-10 ranked player. She lost in the second round to Carla Suárez Navarro in three sets.
In October at the BGL Luxembourg Open, Halep faced Kimiko Date-Krumm in the first round and defeated the former fourth-ranked player in straight sets. She fell in the second round to Anastasija Sevastova
Halep lost in the first round of the 2012 Australian Open after making the quarterfinals at Hobart. She then made it to the 3rd round of the 2012 Indian Wells Masters and the 2012 Miami Masters. Halep then went on to make the quarterfinals in Barcelona and the semifinals at Fes. She was beaten in Madrid and Rome by Venus Williams in the first round of both tournaments.
Halep played at the 2012 Brussels Open in a tune up for the 2012 French Open. She shocked former world No. 1 Jelena Janković in the first round, and rallied against No. 4 seed Dominika Cibulková in the quarterfinals from a set down to advance to the semifinals of the WTA Premier event.
Halep began the year as the Romanian No. 2, ranked No. 47 in the world, 20 places behind Sorana Cirstea. Her first three tournaments, ASB Classic, Hobart International and Australian Open, ended in defeats. Her first major tournament breakthrough came at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in May, gaining three of the biggest victories of her career. Halep defeated two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, world No. 4 Agnieszka Radwańska, and two-time tournament champion and former world No. 1 Jelena Janković (but saved 2 match points) to reach the semifinals, where she was defeated soundly by eventual champion Serena Williams in straight sets. She later said that "What changed was that I allowed myself to be relaxed on the court by taking the pressure off. I told myself to enjoy it and play with pleasure." At the French Open, Halep suffered her second successive first-round exit at a Grand Slam, falling to Carla Suarez Navarro, despite taking the first set comfortably. She rebounded well, however, going on to win her first two WTA titles back-to-back, first at the Nürnberger Versicherungscup in June, where she defeated Andrea Petkovic in the final, and then at the Topshelf Open, where she defeated world No. 11 Roberta Vinci with the loss of just one game in the second round, before defeating Kirsten Flipkens in the final. She became the first Romanian tennis player to win back-to-back tournaments on different surfaces. She claimed her first Grand Slam match win of the year at Wimbledon, defeating Olga Govortsova of Belarus, before falling to Li Na in three sets. After Wimbledon, in July, Halep entered the top-30 rankings for the first time.
Following the grass-court season, Halep went on to win her third title of the year, at the Budapest Grand Prix, where she defeated Sesil Karatantcheva, Ágnes Bukta, Tímea Babos, and fellow Romanian Alexandra Cadanțu en route to her third final of the year. She defeated Austrian Yvonne Meusburger in three sets to win her third WTA title. She reached her second Premier 5 quarterfinal in Cincinnati, where once again she lost to Serena Williams. She won her fourth WTA title, and first in a Premier level tournament, at the New Haven Open, defeating Petra Kvitova in the final in straight sets, which meant she entered the top-20 for the first time, at No.19. At the US Open, Halep reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career, where she ultimately lost to Italian Flavia Pennetta in two sets. She then went on to win her fifth title of the year, and her second at a Premier event, beating Samantha Stosur in the final of the Kremlin Cup. As a result of her highly successful summer, Halep became the only player of the year to win titles on clay, grass, hard, and indoor courts, as well as the second most successful player behind Serena Williams in terms of number of titles won. In November, Halep defeated former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic to reach the final of the WTA Tournament of Champions, her ninth career final and sixth of the year. Simona defeated Samantha Stosur in three sets for her sixth WTA title of the season. She finished her breakthrough year ranked No. 11 in the world.
2014: Entering the top 2, first Major final
Halep began the year at the Sydney International in January, where she was the number 7 seed in a draw that contained 6 of the WTA's top 10, however was knocked out in her opening match against up and coming American Madison Keys, her first loss since September.
She then headed to Melbourne for the Australian Open, where she was the number 11 seed. In her opening match she faced qualifier Katarzyna Piter, defeating the Pole in 54 minutes, dropping just one game throughout the whole match. She next faced the American Varvara Lepchenko where she dropped the first set, but easily won the next two sets. In the third round, she defeated the qualifier Zarina Diyas in two sets, setting up a fourth round meeting with Jelena Jankovic. Halep defeated the former number one in the world in three sets, with a bagel in the third one and qualified for the first time in her career in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam. Halep then lost the match against Dominika Cibulkova, failing to reach a semifinal at Melbourne.
With the points gained at the Australian Open, she moved to number 10 in the WTA Rankings, becoming only the fourth Romanian player to enter the Top 10, after Mariana Simionescu, Virginia Ruzici and Irina Spîrlea.
On 16 February 2014, Halep competed in the final of the Qatar Open, defeating Angelique Kerber in straight sets to win her first ever Premier 5 tournament. Halep described it as "one of the best moments of my life". Then in March, as a result of defeating Casey Dellacqua at the BNP Paribas Open quarterfinals, she rose to number 5 in the world, becoming the highest-ranked Romanian in the history of the WTA.
In May, Halep reached her first WTA Premier Mandatory final at the Mutua Madrid Open, but after winning the first set for the loss of only one game, she lost to eighth seed Maria Sharapova in three sets. Her run to the final included wins over former Grand Slam champions Ana Ivanovic and Petra Kvitová in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively. Despite having to withdraw from the Internazionali BNL d'Italia after her second round win due to injury, Halep entered the top four in the rankings for the first time in the week starting 19 May 2014.
Halep entered the French Open as the number 4 seed, and dropped just 11 games in her opening three rounds against Alisa Kleybanova, Heather Watson and Maria Teresa Torro Flor respectively. After defeating Sloane Stephens in the fourth round, Halep reached her second consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal, where she defeated former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. She reached her first Major final by defeating 28th seeded German Andrea Petkovic in the semifinals, which ensured that Halep would be world No. 3 and the first Romanian since Virginia Ruzici in 1980 to reach a Major final. Halep is also the first player since Martina Hingis in the 1997 Australian Open to reach her first Grand Slam final without losing a set. In the final, Halep lost to Maria Sharapova in three sets, in a re-match of the Madrid Open final staged a few weeks prior.
At Wimbledon, Halep made it through her first four rounds with relative ease, dropping just one set on her way to a third consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal. She then defeated former finalist Sabine Lisicki in straight sets to reach the semifinals at Wimbledon for the first time, where she faced Canadian Eugenie Bouchard for a place in the final. Despite being heavy favourite to make the final, Halep lost in straight sets, an ankle injury suffered in the first set proving to be her downfall. Halep then returned to her home of Romania to play the inaugural 2014 Bucharest Open, winning the final in straight sets against Roberta Vinci to clinch her second title of the year.
On 11 August, Halep rose to second in the world rankings, overtaking Li Na; this was despite her non-participation at the Rogers Cup, where Li was a semi-finalist last year but was forced to withdraw from the tournament this year due to a knee injury. Halep returned at Cincinnati, where after being given a first round bye as the second seed, she defeated Kirsten Flipkens and Lucie Safarova in straight sets, before losing for a fifth time (and third this year) to Maria Sharapova in the quarter-finals.
She was coached from an early age by Ioan Stan, a local tennis coach in Constanța.
Simona Halep has self-described her playing style as being "an aggressive baseliner"  and "she models her game on Justine Henin". Henin herself said of Halep, "She has an intelligent game. There is a little something that reminds me of myself... it is offensive and aggressive."
By 2014, Louisa Thomas of Grantland was writing with admiration that "it turns out that [Simona] is astonishingly fast. She started to think ahead during points [...] she has uncanny anticipation. She became even faster [...] her strokes became more simple: compact, beautiful, unreadable. [...] she learned to disrupt the opposition’s rhythm and disguise her own. At her best, she does not play in patterns. She hits with surprising power. She covers the whole court. She hits balls with heavy power without making a sound. [...] Like Djokovic she has a talent for hitting winners from defensive positions. She is a defensive aggressor, an aggressive defender. She is becoming unclassifiable."  After Halep finished runner-up in her first Grand Slam final against powerful hitter Maria Sharapova in Roland Garros in 2014, Eleanor Crooks of The Independent wrote that Halep "has a lovely fluidity of movement and superb balance that enables her to comfortably trade with more powerful players". Michael Beattie of Wimbledon.org also noticed that [Halep] "is free of the shrieks, tics and fist-pumps of her contemporaries." 
In terms of tennis strategy Halep is an aggressive counterpuncher. Her very fit body and athleticism provide her with very good all-court movement and she tends to make few errors; she also uses this agility to reach the ball earlier because of her wide back swings and sliding. At the same time she likes to control the rally and can hit very effective cross-court and down-the-line flat shots, generally producing winners.
Grand Slam tournament finals
Singles: 1 (0–1)
|Runner-up||2014||French Open||Clay||Maria Sharapova||4–6, 7–6(7–5), 4–6|
Won tournament; or reached Final; Semifinal; Quarter-final; Round 4, 3, 2, 1; competed at a Round Robin stage; lost in Qualification Round; absent from tournament event; played in a Davis Cup Zonal Group (with its number indication) or Play-off; won a bronze, silver (F or S) or gold medal at the Olympics; a downgraded Masters Series/1000 tournament (Not a Masters Series); or a tournament that was Not Held in a given year.
To avoid confusion and double counting, these charts are updated either at the conclusion of a tournament, or when the player's participation in the tournament has ended.
Grand Slam singles performance timeline
|Grand Slam Tournaments|
|Australian Open||A||Q1||3R||1R||1R||QF||0 / 4||6–4|
|French Open||Q2||1R||2R||1R||1R||F||0 / 5||7–5|
|Wimbledon||A||Q1||2R||1R||2R||SF||0 / 4||7–4|
|US Open||A||1R||2R||2R||4R||3R||0 / 5||7–5|
|Win–Loss||0–0||0–2||5–4||1–4||4–4||17–4||0 / 18||27–18|
Doubles performance timeline
|Grand Slam Tournaments|
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