Simona Halep reached the Montreal semifinals after a 7-5, 6-1 win over Caroline Garcia. The day before, due to the rain that fell on Wednesday, she had to play two matches in one day, the last one very late in the evening.
On Friday, she played the first match of the night session (at 6:30 PM), whereas her semifinal rival, Ashleigh Barty, played the first one, at 12:30 PM.
The world number one was not happy about it. “If you look at the schedule, I think I’m the only one person and player who has the worst schedule during the week”, she told the press. “I think this happens almost every tournament. I saw that tomorrow I play at 1:00. So I think WTA is a little bit upset with me because they always try to put me down, I can say, in the schedule. And I’m very upset about this. Tomorrow I’m going to go on court and I will try to give my best. I have nothing to lose. It’s a semifinal. So I just go there and I try to play.”
Then she added: “My opponent has already six hours at the hotel resting, and I just finished the match and I’m doing now these things. I’ll be very late again. Yesterday I played two matches. I feel like today I should have played second match in the night, and also tomorrow at 6, not at 1. This is my opinion, and I think I’m right.”
Is Halep justified in her grievances?
Is Simona Halep justified in her affirmations that the WTA constantly does that to her? We can’t tell. However, what we can tell for sure is that she is not justified in this particular case.
Her first match of the tournament was scheduled in the night session because she is the best player in the world, on top of being the last woman to have won the tournament in Montreal. Moreover, she is a very popular figure in the city, which counts a lot of Romanians, ever present at each of her matches. The rain was not anyone’s fault, and she was not the only player to have to play twice on Thursday. It was also the case for her round of 16 rival, Venus Williams, but also of Johanna Konta and Aryna Sabalenka.
As for Friday, the reason for the scheduling as it was is quite simple: three players were still in contention in both singles and doubles. The schedulers had no choice but to put their singles matches first on the order of play, since the doubles are always played after the singles.
One of those players is Ashleigh Barty, who will play the Romanian in Saturday’s semifinals. The second is Kiki Bertens, who lost to Barty in singles. Sloane Stephens was the last one.
Those three players were the reason for them playing the day session matches.
It may sound unfair to Halep (and to Elina Svitolina, for that matter), but at the same time, there is nothing the WTA could have done to change things. Nevertheless, such a situation is a scheduler’s nightmare.