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Dodin had neither played Halep before nor met a world #1 in her career (hasn’t met a Romanian since November 2016) and Halep will start as the overwhelming favorite to dismiss the 21-year-old Frenchwoman. That said, Dodin has got a dangerous game which will be difficult to stop if she gets going.
Simona Halep Pick
Simona Halep has made six appearances at Miami since debuting in 2011 and has reached the quarterfinal or better in the last three editions. In 2015, she made the semifinal but lost a close match (ended 7-5 in decider) to the eventual winner, Serena Williams.
This will be Halep’s first appearance at Miami as the top-seed. In the last two decades, the #1 seeds have never exited the tournament before reaching the round of 16. Moreover, top-seeds have won the title here a total of 13 times.
Halep has won a total of 18 matches so far in this season (tour highest, tied with Kerber), but the only title she has won is an International at Shenzhen.
At the Indian Wells this month, she suffered her second loss of the season, losing to the eventual winner, Naomi Osaka in semifinals. Her previous loss came against Caroline Wozniacki in the final of Australian Open.
Oceane Dodin News
Oceane Dodin, who retired in the final qualifying round against Alison Riske (citing ankle injury), accepted the lucky loser spot following Belinda Bencic’s withdrawal.
She was able to defeat Cepede Royg in the two hours and 13 minutes first round match to secure her first-ever Miami main draw victory. Earlier this week, she had also survived two hours and 25 minutes match against Naomi Broady in the qualifying round.
Dodin ended her 2017 season early in September and had a delayed start to 2018 (playing her first match in Melbourne) so as to tend to her long-running vertigo issues.
Tennis Prediction: Simona Halep to win in 2 SETS