This will be the first match of the year for Simona Halep that because of her back injury hasn’t won a match for the last 5 months (the semifinal in Cincinnati against Aryna Sabalenka the 18th of August). Simona is eager to have at least a couple of good matches under her belt before the Australian Open where she was the runner up last year.
Currently ranked no.15, Ashleigh is in fine form. Last year she won the last tournament of the season in Zhuhai soon after she reached a prestigious semifinal in Wuhan. The Australian reached the second round in Sydney after dismissing Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 6-3 in the 1st round.
Simona leads Ashleigh 2-0 in H2H matches after she defeated her back to back in Montreal and then Cincinnati last year. This will be a tough test for the Romanian.