There was less drama in this match than her opening-round win over Eugenie Bouchard, a 7-6 (4), 6-4 victory. Not just in the scoreline: Halep was irked by a fan's marriage proposal toward the Canadian during Tuesday's contest, according to Courtney Nyugen.
PSA: 5-4* in the tiebreak is not the time to yell “Genie when will you marry me? Simona said no.” The Halep Glare was choice.— Courtney Nguyen (@FortyDeuceTwits) February 19, 2019
With that out of the way, Halep continued her strong play at one of the WTA's most lucrative and competitive tournaments—eight of the tour's Top 9 are in the UAE this year—with a stronger test looming. The Romanian will face either Aryna Sabalenka, one of the game's top young players and the No. 8 seed, or Belinda Bencic, who is rediscovering the level of play that saw her burst onto the tennis scene years ago.
Will there be drama in that forthcoming match? As competitiveness goes, tennis fans can only hope so.
ATP Rio De Janeiro
• Starting Monday 2/18, at 2:30 pm ET, catch live coverage of the Rio Open featuring Dominic Thiem, Fabio Fognini, and Diego Schwartzman.
• Watch Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova live from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships starting Saturday, 2/16 at 3:00 am ET
• Tennis Channel Plus features live coverage of the Hungarian Ladies Open beginning Monday, 2/18 8:00 am ET
ATP Delray Beach
• Watch Juan Martin del Potro, John Isner and Frances Tiafoe live on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Tuesday, 2/19 at 12:30 am ET.
• See Karen Khachanov, Borna Coric and Stefanos Tsitsipas live on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Monday 2/18, 8:30 am ET