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Match of the Day: Simona Halep vs. Ons Jabeur, Dubai

Match of the Day: Simona Halep vs. Ons Jabeur, Dubai

The late-blooming Jabeur is a joy to watch, but will likely struggle against the Romanian's court shrinking quickness in this second-round clash Wednesday.

Since January, Ons Jabeur has beaten Johanna Konta, Caroline Garcia, Caroline Wozniacki, Wang Qiang and Alison Riske.

The 25-year-old Tunisian turned heads during her Australian Open quarterfinal run with her unique playing style. Jabeur combines raw power with great variety and deft touch. When watching her play, one can’t help but wonder where she’s been this past decade. She turned pro in 2008, but just recently cracked the Top 50. She's certainly a late bloomer, but judging by her game, Jabeur is here stay. 

Dubai’s top seed Simona Halep continues to be a model of consistency. Arguably the best mover on the WTA tour, she is either the favorite— or one of the favorites— to win every tournament she enters. 

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Halep and Jabeur have faced off once before, at the 2018 China Open in Beijing. After dropping the first set, 6-1, Halep withdrew. She was hardly fit to compete, but Jabeur’s variety and unpredictability still caused plenty of problems for Halep. 

The Romanian is unique in that she can win matches in multiple ways. If she’s hot, Halep can hit anyone off the court. If she’s cold, the two-time major winner can rely on her movement and consistency to keep her in it, and outlast opponents. Jabeur will need to find a way to finish the point against the lightning quick Halep, something she has admittedly struggled with in the past. 

“I have a lot of choices, I don’t know what to do at the end.” Jabeur said at the Australian Open. “My game is different, I like to play differently from the other girls,”

It’s never a bad thing to have options, but if Jabeur can’t figure out how to end the point on her terms, it will be a long and miserable day at the office. In the end, expect the 2015 champion to advance, likely without too much trouble.