What Next for Struggling World No. 1 Simona Halep?
World No. 1 Simona Halep could not close out former world No. 2 Agnieszka Radwanska on Saturday at the Miami Open, losing 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 and leaving more questions about her ability to hold onto the top ranking.
Halep won her first tournament of the year at Shenzhen but has been winless since. Her early exit in Miami comes on the heels of a semifinal loss at Indian Wells where she was bageled by unseeded Naomi Osaka.
“There were pretty tricky conditions and some weird shots, but I’m very, very happy with the way I played, especially at the end,” Radwanska said. “And to beat the No. 1 in the world, obviously.”
No. 1 for how long is hard to tell. Caroline Wozniacki is a close No. 2, but can not take the No. 1 ranking this week after being upset in Miami herself. Former No. 1s Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka are not close to top form after their comebacks, and players who were briefly No. 1 last year, such as Garbine Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova, haven’t shown the drive or results to take back the top spot.
Halep this year has fluctuated between giving up during matches or winning in three sets and afterwards pronouncing her ability to fight. Some of her televised on-court coaching visits with coach Darren Cahiil have left commentators almost speechless after Halep refuses to look at or acknowledge him.
Next is the claycourt season, where last year Halep won Madrid and was runner-up at Roland Garros.
Radwanska will next meet Azarenka, who upset No. 20 seed Anastasija Sevastova.
Other seeded winners Wednesday in third-round play at Miami were No. 3 Muguruza, No. 5 Pliskova, No. 10 Angie Kerber, and No. 13 Sloane Stephens.
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