TORONTO, Canada – Former World No.1 Simona Halep was eager to shake off the rust at her first tournament back in action since her Wimbledon triumph, partnering up with Canadian youngster Leylah Fernandez in the Rogers Cup doubles competition.
Looking for extra matchplay before her Toronto debut against Jennifer Brady, No.4 seed Halep told journalists at the pair’s joint post-match press conference that she enlisted the help of tournament director Karl Hale to find her a doubles partner.
Halep admitted that she saw a bit of herself in 16-year-old Fernandez, the youngest player in the singles draw.
“[Karl] recommended me a few players by email,” Halep told press in Toronto. “I picked Leylah because I heard that she’s very ambitious. And she just won the French Open, and I remember that I did that 10 years ago. So I just wanted to play with her, and that was it.”
The wildcard duo was dealt a tough opening round against the No.7 seeds Nichole Melichar and Kveta Peschke, a veteran partnership. Halep and Fernandez rallied to take the first set, but ultimately fell in a match tiebreak, 1-6, 6-3, 10-5.