Simona Halep vs. Kiki Bertens, Cincinnati Final Preview

🇺🇸 Western & Southern Open, Cincinnati Final Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇳🇱 Kiki Bertens

Simona Halep will be looking to extend her winning streak and strengthen her hold at the top of the rankings when she takes on Kiki Bertens in Sunday’s final at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. Halep and Bertens are arguably the two form players over the last month, expect a high quality final between two extremely confident competitors. Halep has had the better of this match-up in the past but this will be their first match on a hard court in almost a decade. Can Bertens take down the world number 1 to win the biggest title of her career?

Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in action during her second-round match at the 2018 Western & Southern Open WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Simona Halep is on a roll, full of confidence and at the top of her game. Halep arrived in Cincinnati straight from a gruelling final win over Sloane Stephens at the Rogers Cup. It would have been understandable if Halep took this tournament lightly, to the contrary she has been extremely strong on route to her 6th final of the year. The world number 1 made a slow start to the event with a 3 set win over Ajla Tomljanovic before beating Ashleigh Barty, Lesia Tsurenko and Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets. Halep’s ability to take down a red-hot Sabalenka was certainly a confidence boosting win.

It has been an outstanding month for Kiki Bertens. Bertens arrived in Cincinnati fresh from back-to-back quarter-final appearances at Wimbledon and the Rogers Cup. Bertens rolled through her first couple of matches, beating CoCo Vandeweghe and Caroline Wozniacki, dropping a combined 6 games. Bertens then required 3 sets to get by Anett Kontaveit in an injury interrupted match before producing her best performance in a straight set demolition of Elina Svitolina. Bertens booked her spot in the final with a gutsy 3-6 6-4 6-2 win over Petra Kvitova to give herself a chance to win a maiden hard court title.

Halep holds a 3-1 H2H record over Bertens. Halep won the two recent meetings between the pair, both in straight sets: 7-5 6-1 in Rome last year and 6-4 6-3 at Wimbledon in 2016. This will be the first meeting between the two on a hard court in almost 8 years.

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Simona Halep vs. Sloane Stephens, Montreal Final Preview

🇨🇦🏆 Rogers Cup, Montreal. Final Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇺🇸 (3) Sloane Stephens

Sunday’s championships match in Montreal will be a heavyweight battle between arguably the 2 best players in the world as world number 1 and former champion Simona Halep takes on reigning U.S Open champion Sloane Stephens. It is Halep who has had the better of this match-up, the Romanian has won the last 5 meetings between the two including a notable victory in the Roland Garros final earlier this year. Stephens is playing great tennis this week, can she finally get the better of Halep?

Simona Halep of Romania playing doubles at the 2018 Coupe Rogers WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Simona Halep may have made a slow start to the tournament but she enters Sunday’s final in excellent form. Halep required over 3 hours to get the better of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (7-6 4-6 7-5) in the opening round. Halep has been on a roll since that tough opening round match, defeating Venus Williams (6-2 6-2), Caroline Garcia (7-5 6-1) and Ashleigh Barty (6-4 6-1) in straight sets. The level of tennis Halep produced in her wins over Garcia and Barty was particularly impressive, tennis worthy of a world number 1.

Sloane Stephens has been all business right from the offset in Montreal. The American has reached the final without dropping a set, victories over Francoise Abanda (6-0 6-2), Carla Suarez Navarro (6-2 7-5), Anastasija Sevastova (6-2 6-2) and Elina Svitolina (6-3 6-3). Stephens saved her best tennis for an extremely impressive semi-final win over Elina Svitolina, Sloane’s forehand was dominant from start to finish as she hit the defending champion off the court. More of the same is required for Sloane to have a chance on Sunday in what has been a troublesome match-up for her.

Halep holds a dominant 6-2 H2H record over Stephens. Halep has won the last 5 meetings between the pair, 4 of those 5 matches were straight set victories. The most recent match between the pair took place in the Roland Garros final earlier this year, a 3-6 6-4 6-1 victory for Halep.

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Simona Halep vs. Ashleigh Barty, Montreal SF Preview

🇨🇦 Rogers Cup, Montreal. SF Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇦🇺 (15) Ashleigh Barty

Simona Halep and Ashleigh Barty will go head-to-head for this first time when they meet in Saturday’s first semi-final in Montreal. Halep and Barty were both very impressive in straight set quarter-final victories over quality opposition on Friday and will head into this match full of confidence. Does Barty have the precision required to get past the world number 1 or will the Romanian be too strong?

Simona Halep of Romania celebrates winning her third-round match at the 2018 Coupe Rogers WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Simona Halep produced some sensational tennis to defeat Caroline Garcia 7-5 6-1 and reach the semi-final in Montreal. Halep and Garcia went toe-to-toe for the majority of the first set, but Halep broke clear later in the opener as she found a level that not many can match. Halep, a former champion in Montreal, maintained an extremely high level in the second set as she ran away with the match. It was an especially impressive performance given Halep spent 4 hours on court the day before, a marathon 3 set win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and a straight set win over Venus Williams.

Ash Barty will be competing in arguably the biggest match of her career thus far when she takes to the court against the world number 1. Barty heads into this match with good momentum after a 6-3 6-1 demolition of Kiki Bertens confirmed her spot in the semi-finals. Prior to that win Barty required 3 sets to get by Irina-Camelia Begu in the opening round before defeating Alison Van Uytvanck and Alize Cornet in straight sets.

It will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out as the pair do battle for the very first time.

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Simona Halep vs. Caroline Garcia, Montreal QF Preview

🇨🇦 Rogers Cup, Montreal. QF Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇫🇷 (6) Caroline Garcia

A blockbuster quarter-final clash in Montreal sees former champion and world number 1 Simona Halep take on the red-hot 6th seeded Caroline Garcia. Halep battled through two matches on Thursday, less than 24 hours later she comes up against Garcia who is fresh from a dominant victory over Maria Sharapova. Halep has generally had the better of this match-up but Garcia will still fancy her chances here.

Simona Halep of Romania celebrates winning her third-round match at the 2018 Coupe Rogers WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Simona Halep started her Montreal campaign with an epic 3 set victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, a 7-6 4-6 7-5 victory in a match that lasted over 3 hours and was played across two days. Halep had to front up again later that night, hours after her win over Pavlyuchenkova. Luckily for Halep it was a very comfortable match, a 6-2 6-2 win over Venus Williams, the American was clearly injured and was an easy kill for Halep.

Caroline Garcia enters this quarter-final clash full of confidence fresh from arguably her best performance of the season thus far. Garcia smashed Maria Sharapova 6-3 6-2 in a near-flawless performance. Garcia’s aggressive return of serve was the highlight of her win over Sharapova as was her devastating play from the baseline, very clean hitting that she maintained without hitting many unforced errors. Prior to that win Garcia came from a set down to defeat Magdalena Rybarikova.

Halep holds a 4-1 head-to-head record over Garcia. Halep has won the last couple of matches between the two, including a 6-2 6-3 win in Rome earlier this year in their most recent match. Garcia’s sole victory over Halep came in last year’s Beijing final, a 6-4 7-6 win for the Frenchwoman.

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Simona Halep vs. Su-Wei Hsieh, Wimbledon R3 Preview

Wimbledon, R3 Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇹🇼 Su-Wei Hsieh

Simona Halep continues her Wimbledon campaign on Saturday with a third round clash against Taiwan’s Su-Wei Hsieh. The draw has really opened up for the Romanian and suddenly she looms as one the favourites on her least preferred surface. The world number 1 has been fairly untroubled in her first couple of matches and heads into this match as a strong favourite. Nevertheless, Hsieh is an awkward opponent and has a game that is well suited to grass, this could be closer than expected.

Simona Halep of Romania in action during her first-round match at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships Grand Slam tournament

Grass has always been considered Halep’s least successful surface, however she has made it the quarter-final stage in the last couple of years and previously reached the semi-finals in 2014. Halep seems poised for another deep run at SW19, the top seed is playing good tennis this week and the draw has opened up very nicely for the reigning Roland Garros champion. Halep started the week with an easy 6-2 6-4 win over Kurumi Nara before defeating Saisai Zheng 7-5 6-0. Halep won 10 consecutive games in her second round win over Zheng having fallen behind 3-5 in the opening set, the Romanian therefore brings great momentum into this third round clash.

Su-Wei Hsieh is into the third round at Wimbledon for just the second time in her career, equaling her previous best effort in 2012. Hsieh is having one of the most consistent seasons of her career and has beaten some quality opponents on the biggest stages in recent times. Hsieh started her 2018 Wimbledon campaign with a 6-4 4-6 6-3 win over the 30th seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Hsieh confirmed her spot in the third round with a fairly comprehensive 6-3 6-3 win over Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena.

The only previous match between the pair at the tour level ended in a 6-7 6-1 6-2 victory for Halep.

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Simona Halep vs. Kurumi Nara, Wimbledon R1 Preview

🇬🇧 Wimbledon, R1 Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇯🇵 Kurumi Nara

Simona Halep will make her return to competitive action on Tuesday for the first time since claiming a maiden Grand slam title at Roland Garros. The world number 1 will come up against Japan’s Kurumi Nara in the opening round at Wimbledon. On paper this looks like a favourable draw for Halep, however the Romanian has often been vulnerable on grass and it hard to know what to expect from her in her first match since winning the title in Paris.

Simona Halep of Romania.in action during the semi-final of the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

The pressure is off Simona Halep, she is no longer the best player on tour to not have won a Grand Slam title after coming from a set down to defeat Sloane Stephens in the Roland Garros final a month ago. Whilst grass is considered Halep’s worst surface, she has still had very good recent results at SW19 in recent times, reaching at least the quarter-final stage in 3 of the last 4 seasons.

Unlike Halep, Nara played several tournaments on grass before Wimbledon. Nara was unable to win a main draw match in Nottingham, Birmingham or Eastbourne, typical of her poor form in 2018. Nara heads into this match with nothing to lose, she can play with no pressure against the best player in the world.

The only previous match between the pair took place at Indian Wells in 2014, Halep claimed a comfortable 6-2 6-2 victory.

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Simona Halep vs. Sloane Stephens, Roland Garros Final Preview

🇫🇷 Roland Garros, 🏆 Final Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇺🇸 (10) Sloane Stephens

Take four! A fourth Grand Slam final for Simona Halep, a fourth chance to break her Grand Slam duck. The world number 1 will come up against reigning U.S Open champion Sloane Stephens in Saturday’s Roland Garros championship match. Whilst it is Halep who is the more established player it is Stephens who is the Grand Slam champion, will Stephen’s come from nowhere to win another Grand Slam title or will Halep finally capture that elusive maiden Grand Slam title?

Simona Halep of Romania.in action during the semi-final of the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Simona Halep is into a third Roland Garros final. Halep’s Paris campaign ended in misery this time last year when she was beaten by Jelena Ostapenko from a set and 3-0 up. 12 months later Halep has the chance to make amends and looks well positioned to do so after a superb 6-1 6-4 victory over Garbine Muguruza in Thursday’s semi-final. Halep’s win over the Spaniard was her best performance of the tournament, one of her best performances of the entire year. It has been a tough route to the final for Halep, the world number 1 started the event with a 3 set win over Alison Riske before claiming straight set wins over Taylor Townsend, Andrea Petkovic and Elise Mertens, at the quarter-final stage Halep came from a set down to defeat Angelique Kerber.

Sloane Stephens now has the opportunity to win a second Grand Slam title within the last 12 months, an incredible achievement given she was side-lined with a serious injury at this time last year. Stephens has looked rock-solid throughout the fortnight. The American’s only challenge came at the third round where she came from a set down to beat Camila Giorgi 8-6 in the third after she cruised through her first few matches over Arantxa Rus and Magdalena Frech. Stephens’ level has certainly increased during the second week as she claimed 3 dominant wins to reach the final in Paris, 6-2 6-0 over Anett Kontaveit, 6-3 6-1 over Daria Kasatkina and finally a 6-4 6-4 semi-final win over Madison Keys.

It is Halep who has had Sloane’s measure in recent times. Halep has won the last 4 matches between the pair and holds an overall 5-2 head-to-head record over the American. Interestingly all 7 of the previous matches between these two have ended in straight sets. The pair met on two occasions in 2017, a 7-6 6-0 win for Halep in Washington followed by a 6-2 6-1 demolition at the Rogers Cup in their most recent encounter.

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Simona Halep vs. Garbine Muguruza, Roland Garros SF Preview

🇫🇷 Roland Garros, SF Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇪🇸 (3) Garbine Muguruza

Thursday’s first semi-final at Roland Garros will be a blockbuster encounter between world number 1 Simona Halep and 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza. Halep and Muguruza have been the two most consistent performers in Paris over the last few years, Halep has amassed a 16-4 win/loss record in Paris over the last 4 years whilst Muguruza has an 18/4/ win loss record over the same period of time. Both love Paris and both are in great form heading into this match, who steps up to grab the first spot in the final?

Garbine Muguruza of Spain in action during her quarter-final match at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Simona Halep’s route to a third semi-final in Paris has not been straightforward. Halep has twice been forced to come from a set down including her opening round match against Alison Riske. Halep upped her level after that initial scare to claim comfortable straight set wins over Taylor Townsend, Andrea Petkovic and Elise Mertens. Halep faced her toughest test at the quarter-final stage where she had to battle hard to defeat an in-form Angelique Kerber 6-7 6-3 6-2, perhaps a victory that will help the Romanian moving forward, a match that Halep would typically have lost in the past.

Garbine Muguruza has arguably been the most impressive of the four semi-finalists. The Spaniard has cruised into the final 4 without dropping a set and has very rarely been challenged. The manner in which Muguruza has come through her last few matches has been especially impressive, a 6-0 6-2 win over Sam Stosur and a 6-2 6-1 win over Maria Sharapova, two dominant performances over a former finalist and a 2-time former champion in Paris. Muguruza is a proven big-time player, she always raises her level and manages to find her best once she is at this stage of a Grand Slam.

It is Muguruza who has had the better of this match-up. Muguruza holds a 3-1 record over Halep. The most recent match between the pair was a 6-1 6-0 demolition in favour of Muguruza in the Cincinnati final last year. However, it was Halep who won their only previous match on a clay court a 3 set win in Stuttgart in 2015.

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Simona Halep vs. Angelique Kerber, Roland Garros QF Preview

🇫🇷 Roland Garros, QF Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇩🇪 (12) Angelique Kerber

The pick of the quarter-final match-ups at Roland Garros in 2018 sees the top seeded Simona Halep in search of a maiden Grand Slam title take on 2-time former Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber. Once again it is Halep who is the strong favourite to win the title heading into the later stages at Roland Garros, will it be third time lucky for Halep in 2018 or will the tournament end in bitter disappointment once again?

Angelique Kerber of Germany celebrates reaching the quarter-final stage of the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Whether she admits it or not, the pressure is on Simona Halep, more pressure than anyone else in the draw. Halep is the greatest player left on tour to have not won a Grand Slam, a two-time finalist in Paris, the world number 1 is again in a great position to break her grand Slam duck. Can she do it? Halep made a slow start to the tournament with a 3 set win over Alison Riske but has been untroubled since then in straight set wins over Taylor Townsend, Andrea Petkovic and Elise Mertens. Halep will face a greater test in the quarter-finals against a red-hot Angelique Kerber.

Angelique Kerber has surprised many to reach the quarter-finals in Paris without dropping a set. Kerber lost in the opening round In Paris in her two previous attempts but has finally found her groove on the Parisian clay in 2018. Kerber started the event with easy wins over Mona Barthel and Ana Bogdan before claiming upset victories over Kiki Bertens and Caroline Garcia. Kerber’s 6-2 6-3 demolition of Garcia in the fourth round was particularly impressive.

Halep holds a 5-4 head-to-head record over Kerber. The most recent match between the pair was an epic at the Australian Open earlier this year, a 6-3 4-6 9-7 victory for the Romanian in what arguably remains the match of the year to this date. The only previous match between the pair on clay was in a Fed Cup tie a few years ago and Kerber won that match in straight sets. Expect this to be another tough battle.

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Simona Halep vs. Elise Mertens, Roland Garros R4 Preview

🇫🇷 Roland Garros, R4 Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇧🇪 (16) Elise Mertens

The top seeded Simona Halep continues her quest for an elusive maiden Grand Slam title on Monday with a fourth round clash against the 16th seeded Elise Mertens. The Belgian looms as a decent test for Halep as we enter the second week in Paris. Mertens has an awesome 14-1 record on clay in 2018, her only loss was at the hands of Halep in Madrid.

Simona Halep of Romania in action during the first round at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Halep made a nervous start to her Roland Garros campaign but has looked more solid in her last couple of matches. After coming from a set down to defeat Alison Riske in the opening round Halep was reasonably untroubled in her next couple of matches. Halep defeated Taylor Townsend 6-3 6-1 and Andrea Petkovic 7-5 6-0 to book her spot in the round of 16.

Elise Mertens is into the second week in Paris for the first time having smashed her previous Grand Slam best in Melbourne earlier this year where she reached the semi-finals. Mertens also came through a tough opening round match where she was forced to come from a set down to defeat Varvara Lepchenko. Mertens has certainly improved her level as the tournaments has gone on, the 16th seed defeated Heather Watson 6-4 6-3 in the second round followed by an impressive 6-3 6-1 demolition of the 24th seeded Daria Gavrilova.

The only previous match between the pair took place in Madrid earlier this year, the match ended in a comfortable 6-0 6-3 win for the Romanian.

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