ROME, May 13: World number one Simona Halep said on Sunday she was looking to lay the groundwork for a Grand Slam breakthrough at the French Open in the Rome WTA clay-court tournament.
The 26-year-old finished runner-up in Rome last year before losing in the final in Roland Garros for a second time. She was also a finalist in the Australian Open this year. “Of course, the Grand Slam is now for me the most important tournament,” said top seed Halep ahead of the French Open which starts in Paris on May 21. Romanian Halep has received a first round bye and will open against either former two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus or Japan’s Naomi Osaka on the clay surface at the Foro Italico.
“But, I cannot plan anything. So I’m taking every tournament as important. I’m giving everything I have every week. Like I did before Melbourne, I went to Shenzhen, I won singles, doubles. Defending champion Halep lost her first match at the Madrid Open in three years on Thursday when she was beaten by Karolina Pliskova in the semi-finals. (Agencies).