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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Sloane Stephens vs. Madison Keys, Roland Garros SF Preview

🇫🇷 Roland Garros, SF Preview
🇺🇸 (10) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇺🇸 (13) Madison Keys

Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys will renew hostilities when they meet in Thursday’s second semi-final in Paris. The pair famously last met in last year’s U.S Open final, an unexpected match-up that ended in a comfortable victory for Stephens. Indeed, Stephens has won both of their previous matches, both in straight sets, can Keys finally put her game together against Stephens?

Madison Keys of the United States in action during her quarter-final match at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Sloane Stephens has generally been untroubled on route to the final 4 in Paris. Stephens started the event with comfortable straight set wins over Arantxa Rus and Magdalena Frech. It was in the third round where Stephens faced her greatest test, a 4-6 6-1 8-6 win over Camila Giorgi. Stephens was on the verge of defeat on several occasions against Giorgi as the Italian twice served for the match in the third set. Stephens has seemingly benefited from her tight win over Giorgi having cruised through her next two matches, a 6-2 6-0 victory over Anett Kontaveit and 6-3 6-1 over Daria Kasatkina book her spot in the semi-finals in Paris for the first time.

Madison Keys will also be competing in the semi-finals in Paris for the first time. Keys is yet to drop a set on route to the final 4, navigating her way through the first week with wins over Sachia Vickery, Caroline Dolehide and Naomi Osaka. Keys battled past a couple of tricky opponents to secure a semi-final showdown with Stephens, a 6-1 6-4 win over Mihaela Buzarnescu and a 7-6 6-4 win over Yulia Putintseva, two mature victories for Keys against opponents with awkward playing styles.

As mentioned above it is Stephens who holds a perfect 2-0 head-to-head record over Keys. Stephens thrashed Keys in last year’s U.S Open final, a 6-3 6-0 victory in what was a pretty noncompetitive match. Stephens also beat Keys 6-4 6-2 in Miami in 2015.

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Sloane Stephens vs. Daria Kasatkina, Roland Garros QF Preview

🇫🇷 Roland Garros, QF Preview
🇺🇸 (10) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇷🇺 (14) Daria Kasatkina

Sloane Stephens and Daria Kasatkina will renew hostilities when they meet at the quarter-final stage at Roland Garros on Tuesday. Stephens and Kasatkina have both reached career highs in recent times, both head into this match full of confidence as they aim to reach a maiden semi-final in Paris. This looks like a fairly even match-up on paper, expect to see a lot of entertaining rallies between these two, who will step up and reach the semi-finals?

Sloane Stephens of the United States in action during her third-round match at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Sloane Stephens has cruised into the quarter-finals in Paris, untroubled in all but 1 of her four matches so far at Roland Garros. The reigning U.S Open champion started the event with easy straight set wins over Arantxa Rus and Magdalena Frech before surviving a huge scare to defeat Camila Giorgi 4-6 6-1 8-6. Giorgi twice served for the match in the third set but Stephens maintained her focus and composure and was ultimately too strong for the Italian. Sloane produced a near-flawless performance to defeat Anett Kontaveit 6-2 6-0 and book her spot in the quarter-finals in Paris to ensure she has now reached the final 8 at each Grand Slam, Sloane certainly saves her best tennis for the bigger events.

Daria Kasatkina is into her first Grand Slam quarter-final as she continues to climb up the rankings. Kasatkina also started the week with a couple of straight set wins, beating Kaia Kanepi and Kirsten Flipkens pretty comfortably. It was at the third round stage where Kasatkina dropped her only set on route to the final 8 in a hard-fought 6-1 1-6 6-3 win over Maria Sakkari. The Russian secured her spot in the quarter-finals with an impressive 7-6 6-3 victory over the 2nd seeded Caroline Wozniacki. The match was postponed with the score tied at 3-3 in the second set, on resumption the next day Kasatkina played great tennis to win 3 straight games.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. Stephens beat Kasatkina in a long 3 set match on clay in Charleston back in 2016 whilst more recently Kasatkina defeated Stephens 6-4 6-3 at Indian Wells earlier this year.

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Sloane Stephens vs. Camila Giorgi, Roland Garros R3 Preview

🇫🇷 Roland Garros R3 Preview
🇺🇸 (10) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇮🇹 Camila Giorgi

Sloane Stephens continues her Roland Garros campaign on Friday when she takes on Italy’s Camila Giorgi. This looms as a danger match for the 13th seeded American, we all know that Giorgi’s best is very good, can the inconsistent Italian bring her A-game to this third round clash?

Sloane Stephens of the United States in action during her first-round match at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Sloane Stephens has cruised through her first couple of matches in Paris. The American has dropped just 6 games across her first two matches, a 6-0 6-2 win over Arantxa Rus and a 6-2 6-2 win over Magdalena Frech. Stephens has been all business and looms as a genuine contender to win the title. Stephens has reached the second week in Paris on 4 previous occasions, Paris has been her most consistent Grand Slam event.

Camila Giorgi is into the third round in Paris for the first time courtesy of a pair of straight set wins. Giorgi started the week with a 6-3 6-2 win over Grace Min before defeating Maria Duque-Marino 6-0 6-3, It has clearly been a very favourable draw for Giorgi, her true level will be more clear on Friday against Stephens.

Interestingly it is Giorgi who holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Stephens. The Italian has won the last two matches between the pair. The pair recently played in Sydney earlier this year where Giorgi won 6-3 6-0 over a lacklustre and out of form Stephens. It will be a very different Stephens on this occasion.

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Sloane Stephens vs. Magdalena Frech, Roland Garros R2 Preview

Roland Garros, R2 Preview
🇺🇸 (10) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇵🇱 (Q) Magdalena Frech

Sloane Stephens cruised through her opening round match in Paris and will be a strong favourite to do the same thing on Wednesday when she takes on Poland’s Magdalena Fresh in the second round. Stephens is a contender that seems to be flying under the radar the moment, the American has played good tennis in recent times and has what it takes to win big events, Sloane will be one of the tougher players to beat in Paris.

Sloane Stephens of the United States in action during her first-round match at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Sloane Stephens was totally untroubled in her opening round match at Roland Garros, the 10th seed claimed an emphatic 6-2 6-0 win over Arantxa Rus. Stephens has proven her ability to win big tournaments over the last year by winning the U.S Open and the Miami Open, this means Stephens must be considered a real contender in Paris.

Magdalena Frech is into the second round of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career. The Pole secured her spot in the second round with a gutsy 6-3 3-6 6-3 win over Ekaterina Alexandrova. It has been a long week for Frech who has already played 4 matches to reach this stage after winning 3 tough matches in the qualifying draw.

This will be the first career meeting between Stephens and Frech, a match that Stephens will be expected to win comfortably but Frech is in career best form and has nothing to lose here.

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Karolina Pliskova vs. Sloane Stephens, Madrid R3 Preview

Mutua Madrid Open, R3 Preview
🇨🇿 (6) Karolina Pliskova vs. 🇺🇸 (9) Sloane Stephens

Two of the form players on the WTA tour will collide at the third round stage of the Mutua Madrid Open when Karolina Pliskova takes on Sloane Stephens on Wednesday. Pliskova and Stephens have both won big titles in recent times, Pliskova won the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart whilst Stephens won the Miami Open. Pliskova and Stephens have both already had significant wins in Madrid and will both enter this clash full of confidence, who will prevail?

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in action at the 2018 Mutua Madrid Open

Karolina Pliskova is on a 7-match winning streak, on clay! Pliskova arrived in Madrid on a high after winning the title in Stuttgart, her biggest tile on a clay court. The 2017 Roland Garros semi-finalist has clearly dramatically improved her game on clay over the last few years and is not to be ignored on this surface. Pliskova started her Madrid campaign with a comfortable straight set win over Elena Vesnina before battling past Victoria Azarenka 6-2 1-6 7-5. Pliskova showed great mental strength to outlast Azarenka in a tight final set where both had chances to take control, Pliskova’s great serving under pressure and discipline from the baseline gave her the edge and allowed to claim a significant win.

Sloane Stephens has stormed through her first couple of matches in Madrid. The American eased past Silvia Soler-Espinosa and Samantha Stosur to secure her spot in the third round in Madrid for the first time in her career. Stephens has made great progress over the last few months after a slow start to the year, If the reigning U.S Open champion can consistently bring her a-game she will be competing for the biggest titles over the next few months.

Stephens has won the only previous matches between the pair, both in straight sets. 6-2 6-2 at Wimbledon in 2012 and 6-3 6-2 in Beijing in 2015.

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Jelena Ostapenko vs Sloane Stephens, Miami Final Preview

Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌞🐬🌴 Final 🏆 Preview
🇱🇻 (5) Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇺🇸 (13) Sloane Stephens

A blockbuster final at the Miami Open sees a pair of reigning Grand Slam champions collide when Jelena Ostapenko comes up against Sloane Stephens. Ostapenko and Stephens have followed similar paths of late, both struggled early in the year but both have come good in Miami in a big way. Interestingly this will be the first career meeting between Ostapenko and Stephens, it will be fascinating to see how this match-up pans out especially given how well both generally play on the big stage.

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Ostapenko arrived in Miami with a losing record to her name in 2018. The Latvian has really ignited her season in Miami, rocketing her way through to the final without dropping a set. Ostapenko started the event with a couple of hard fought victories over Timea Babos and Beatriz Haddad Maia. The reigning Roland Garros champion made her big move with back-to-back wins over top 10 opponents as she beat Petra Kvitova 7-6 6-3 and Elina Svitolina 7-6 7-6. Ostapenko confirmed her spot in a fourth career final with a hard-fought 7-6 6-3 win over Danielle Collins.

Ostapenko’s ability to raise her level under pressure has been the most impressive part of her run to the final. The 20-year-old has a perfect 5-0 record in tiebreaks in Miami, her brave tennis under pressure has been rewarded just as it was at Roland Garros last year.




Sloane Stephens has been equally impressive on route to the final. In the early rounds Stephens claimed a comfortable straight set win over Ajla Tomljanovic and a hard-fought 3 set over Monica Niculescu. Like Ostapenko, Stephens then claimed back-to-back straight set wins over top 10 opponents, beating Garbine Muguruza 6-3 6-4 and Angelique Kerber 6-1 6-2. Stephens confirmed her spot in Saturday’s Miami Open final with a 3-6 6-2 6-1 win over Victoria Azarenka, Stephens came from a set and a break down, winning 12 of the last 13 games to storm into her first final since the U.S Open last year.

This promises to be an extremely entertaining final, Ostapenko and Stephens have proven to be big game players in the last 12 months, both have played their best tennis of the biggest stages. Who will step up and claim the 2018 Miami Open title?

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Sloane Stephens vs Victoria Azarenka, Miami SF Preview

Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌞🐬🌴 SF Preview
🇺🇸 (13) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇧🇾 (wc) Victoria Azarenka

A blockbuster semi-final clash at the Miami Open sees reigning U.S open champion Sloane Stephens take on 3-time former Miami Open champion Victoria Azarenka. Stephens and Azarenka have both played scintillating tennis in their last couple of matches on route to the final 4 stage, both enter this match desperate to reach a big final for the first time in a while. This promises to be a thrilling match, who will prevail?

This has been an important event for both Stephens and Azarenka. Sloane Stephens is into her first semi-final since winning the U.S Open last year whilst Azarenka will be competing in her first semi-final since her title run in Miami back in 2016.

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Sloane Stephens has cruised past two quality opponents in a row to reach the semi-final stage in Miami. Stephens claimed straight set victories over Garbine Muguruza (6-3 6-4) and Angelique Kerber (6-1 6-2), back-to-back wins over top 10 opponents to ensure that Stephens herself will reach the top 10 for the first time when the latest rankings come out next week. Earlier in the event Stephens thrashed Ajla Tomljanovic in straight sets and came from a set down to defeat Monica Niculescu. This is clearly the best tennis Sloane has played since her heroics at the U.S Open last year.

Amazingly Stephens has a 22-5 win-loss record in North American over the past year whilst in any other country she has a 0-9 win-loss record. Clearly the reigning U.S Open champion saves her best tennis for her home continent…

Victoria Azarenka is on an 11-match winning streak in Miami. Alongside the Australian Open it would be fair to say that the Miami Open is the most successful tournament for the 3-time former champion. Like Stephens, Azarenka has ripped through two quality opponents in a row to reach the semi-finals. A 6-2 6-2 win over Agnieszka Radwanska and a 7-5 6-3 win over Karolina Pliskova. Azarenka’s return of serve has been particularly damaging, the Belarussian has consistently been at the top of the return points won standings this tournament.

Azarenka holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Stephen. It was Azarenka who won the first three matches between the pair, all in straight sets at the Australian Open between 2013 and 2015. However, most recently it was Stephens who prevailed 6-1 7-5 just a few weeks ago in Indian Wells. There is certainly an underlying tension between these two, they do not particularly like each other and will both be desperate to win Thursday’s clash in Miami. Expect fireworks.

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Sloane Stephens vs Stefanie Voegele, Acapulco QF Preview

Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, 🇲🇽🌴 Acapulco QF Preview
🇺🇸 (1) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇨🇭 Stefanie Voegele

Sloane Stephens will be back in action on Thursday where she takes on Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele in the Abierto Mexicano quarter-finals. Stephens survived match point in her 3 set second round victory, perhaps a turning point for the reigning U.S Open champion and 2016 Acapulco champion. Sloane will head into this match as a strong favourite and will hope for a more clinical performance than her previous match.

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Stephens arrived in Acapulco having not won a match since her U.S Open triumph almost 6 months ago. The American finally got back onto the winners list with a straight set win over Pauline Parmentier in the opening round. Stephens looked set for another disappointing loss when she twice trailed Arantxa Rus by a set and a break, her Dutch opponent served for the match at 5-4 in the second set. Stephens managed to force a second set tiebreak where she came from 1-4 down and saved match point to force a decider. It was 1 way traffic in the deciding set as Stephens claimed an important 5-7 7-6 6-0 victory.

Stefanie Voegele is having her best week of the season so far. Voegele is into her first tour level quarter-final since Tianjin last year courtesy of a couple of straight set victories. Voegele eliminated the 8th seeded Tatjana Maria in the opening round before defeating Maria Sakkari 6-3 6-4 to advance to the final 8 in Acapulco. This is a huge result for Voegele given she currently sits at number 183 in the world.

Interestingly, it is Voegele who holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Stephens. The most recent match between the pair was way back in 2013, a 3 set win for Voegele in Luxembourg, Voegele also beat Stephens the week before that in 3 sets in Linz.

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Sloane Stephens vs Arantxa Rus, Acapulco R2 Preview

Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, 🇲🇽🌴 Acapulco R2 Preview
🇺🇸 (1) Sloane Stephens vs 🇳🇱 (Q) Arantxa Rus

Sloane Stephens continues her Abierto Mexicano campaign with a second round clash against Dutch qualifier Arantxa Rus. Sloane’s opening round victory was her first win since her triumph in the U.S Open final almost 6 months ago. The 2016 Acapulco champion will be hoping she can string a few wins together this week and work towards the form the saw her claim a maiden Grand Slam title last year.

Stephens is certainly going through the process of coming to terms with her new standing tennis. The 2017 U.S Open champion arrived in Acapulco on a 6-match losing streak having not won a match since the U.S open final. The top seed and former champion managed to get her Acapulco campaign off and running with a fairly comfortable straight set win over Pauline Parmentier 6-4 6-0. The first set was tight but Stephens cruised to victory in the second.

Arantxa Rus secured her spot in the Acapulco main draw courtesy of a couple of straight set wins in the qualifying draw. Rus then came from a set down to defeat American wild card Kayla Day, a 4-6 6-1 6-0 win. Her reward is a second round clash against the top seeded Sloane Stephens.

This will be the first career meeting between Stephens and Rus.

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