Shenzhen Open, Final Preview
(1) 🇷🇴 Simona Halep vs (6) 🇨🇿 Katerina Siniakova
Saturday’s final at the Shenzhen open sees world number 1: Simona Halep take on defending champion: Katerina Siniakova. This will be a battle of two former champions at the event, Halep won the title in 2015. The only previous match between the pair took place in Shenzhen last year where Siniakova claimed a huge upset, beating Halep in 3 sets in the 2nd round on route to the first title of her career. 12 months later, Halep is in a much stronger position and will be a far greater challenge for Siniakova. Can Halep reverse last year’s result and win her first title of 2018 or will Siniakova successfully defend her title?
There was a lot of pressure on Simona Halep heading into this event. After ending 2017 as the world number 1, many are waiting for Halep to falter. There have been little signs of that in Shenzhen this week as Halep has advanced to the final dropping just 1 set. Halep started the week with a commanding straight set win over Nicole Gibbs before suffering an early scare as she was forced to come from a set down to beat Ying-Ying Duan. Since then Halep’s level has improved dramatically, the world number 1 beat Aryna Sabalenka 6-2 6-2 and Irina-Camelia Begu 6-1 6-4 to book a spot in Saturday’s final.
Katerina Siniakova ended 2017 in terrible form, heading into this year’s Shenzhen Open many would have expected the Czech to struggle to get close to defending her title. However, Siniakova has come to play. The 21-year-olf did not drop a set in her opening 3 matches of the week, beating Ons Jabeur Yafan Wang and Kristyna Pliskova fairly easily. Siniakova’s biggest win came at the semi-final stage where she beat her childhood idol Maria Sharapova 6-2 3-6 6-3. Siniakova served extremely well throughout the match, effectively coming forward to end points at the net. After arguably the biggest win of her career, things will only get harder for Siniakova as she comes up against the world number 1 in the final a day later.
Katerina Siniakova took advantage of a rusty Simona Halep in their only previous meeting which was in Shenzhen last year. Siniakova claimed a hard fought 6-3 4-6 7-5 win. It later became clear that Halep was injured during January so one would suggest Halep will be a much tougher challenge for Siniakova this time around. This should an exciting final.