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By Alberto Amalfi | Sunday, May 24, 2015

Simona Halep

Simona Halep swept Evgeniya Rodina, 7-5, 6-4, to reach the Roland Garros second round.

Photo credit: FFT

Simona Halep returned to Roland Garros with a sweep and renewed strength.

The 2014 French Open finalist broke serve five times defeating Russian Evgeniya Rodina, 7-5, 6-4, in 75 minutes and setting up a second-round match with a familiar face.

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The third-seeded Romanian will take on the woman who knocked her out of the 2014 U.S. Open, Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

The 33-year-old Lucic-Baroni defeated American Lauren Davis on Court 17, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Former Wimbledon semifinalist Lucic-Baroni went up 5-1 in the decider, dropped two games in a row, then sealed her first victory

Lucic-Baroni, who made a famous return to prominence in 2014 with that win over Halep and her first WTA title in 16 years at Qu├ębec City two weeks later, hadn't won a match in Paris since 2002.

Though she did not win a European clay-court tournament leading up to Paris, Halep said she feels physically and mentally sharper than she did during her run to the 2014 French Open final.

"I'm stronger, I think, mentally, and I'm stronger, as well, on court," Halep said. "I feel stronger. I have stronger body, and the game is, I have improved a lot in my game. Serve is better, so I feel more confident now with my game.

"But still, you know, it's about the match, about the opponent.  So I have to be focused and to train every day hard and, you know, to be ready when I go on court, because every match is important, and every match is difficult because everyone is playing good tennis at this level."


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