Simona Halep expects ‘big fight, big battle’ against ‘great person’ Ons Jabeur in Madrid

Simona Halep in action

Simona Halep’s resurgence continued at the Madrid Open as she eased past Coco Gauff, but the former world No 1 knows she is in for another tough encounter when she takes on Ons Jabeur in the quarter-final.

Having struggled with form, injury and illness the past year, Halep has slumped to outside the world top 20. However, she has shown glimpses of her best form in recent weeks as she reached the semi-final of the Indian Wells Open.

After missing the Miami Open, the Romanian is continuing her good form in Madrid as she upset second seed Paula Badosa in the second round and then brushed aside rising star Gauff with a 6-4, 6-4 win on Monday.

Up next is seventh seed Jabeur, who advanced with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 win over Belinda Bencic in the third round.

It will be their fourth encounter at WTA Tour level with Halep winning their most recent clash 6-4-, 6-3 at the Dubai Tennis Championships to take a 3-1 lead in their head-to-head rivalry.

“It’s going to be a totally different match … In Dubai, it was pretty tough because everybody [in the crowd] was with her,” the two-time Grand Slam winner said.

“But sometimes I get the energy also from the crowd, like here with Paula Badosa, so I don’t struggle with that. I love the energy on court and I love the atmosphere. It’s good to have people than not to have people, so it will be good.

“She’s different. She’s a great person, first of all, because we get on so well together. It’s always nice to talk to her. But every time on court is a big fight, big battle. I’m expecting a big one next round.

“But I’m here just to give my best, as I said every day. I feel good on court, I feel my game. I’m just looking forward to play it and to fight for it.”