Osaka vs. Halep
|Date & Time||Thursday March 23, 2017, 9:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Halep -190 / Osaka +165 -- Over/Under:
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Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka meet Thursday in the round of 64 in the 2017 Miami Open.
Simona Halep heads into this tournament still trying to find her footing, as she hasn’t looked right since the WTA Championships and has lost four of her last six matches. Halep has struggled with her serve all year and had to withdraw from St. Petersburg due to a knee injury. We know what Halep is capable of when in good form, as she’s aggressive and one of the more feistier players at both ends, but we haven't seen that energetic player probably since her run in the US Open. Hopefully it’s just a matter of time before Halep gets back on track because women’s tennis is certainly a better sport when she’s playing to her potential. Halep has lost five of her last eight matches on hard court.
Naomi Osaka is coming off a straight sets win over Kristina Kucova that took 17 games to decide. In the victory, Osaka won 78 percent of her first serve points and 46 percent of her second serve points. Osaka is slowly starting to look like the player we saw late last season, as she made a decent run in the Indian Wells Masters and just put away a top-90 player with ease. When Osaka is hitting the ball with confidence and limiting her unforced errors, she’s a pitbull and has the potential to be a top-10 player in the world in due time. My love for Osaka’s game and ceiling has been announced before, as I think she has the ability to win a grand slam sooner than later if she can continue to gain experience and be more consistent. Osaka has won five of her last eight matches on hard court.
These two have played once in the past, which was in the 2016 French Open, a match Halep won in three sets. The match took 27 games to be decided. This will obviously be their first meeting on hard court.
I’m always looking for Osaka and the plus money, and here we are. She has the game to beat anybody when she’s on and this match is no different. The problem I have is it’s only a matter of time before Halep returns to the Halep we’re used to seeing and some time off should help her this tournament.
Right now Halep is the better player, and she’s also the more fresh of the two. This is a match Halep should win.