Simona Halep’s breakout season came in 2013, when she won six titles (Sofia, Moscow, New Haven, Nurnberg, ‘s- Hertogenbosch and Budapest). In 2014 she reached her first Grand Slam final, at the French Open, but lost to Maria Sharapova in a tight three-setter. The following year she won Indian Wells, considered by many to be the “fifth major,” by defeating Jelena Jankovic in the final. Despite her relatively small stature—she stands just 5’6”—the Romanian has a powerful serve and is an aggressive baseliner. She has said that she models her game after seven-time Grand Slam champion Justine Henin, who was similar to Halep in size and stature in her playing days. She’s known for her speed, anticipation and compact strokes, and plays terrific defense that consistently keeps her in matches.
Halep defeated Jankovic in the 2015 Indian Wells final: