Roland Garros – Final Preview – Maria Sharapova vs Simona Halep

Amongst a sea of upsets Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep have navigated their way through to the final stage to set up a mouthwatering final in Paris.

Simona Halep continues to grow in stature, reaching her first ever Grand Slam final and a career high ranking of world number 3. The Romanian is yet to drop a set all tournament. Halep has been seemingly unfazed by the increased pressure and expectations that have been placed upon her coming into her first Grand Slam as a top four seed.

Earlier in the year Halep won her first premier title in Doha and later reached her first premier mandatory final in Madrid. Standing between Halep and a maiden Grand Slam title is former Roland Garros  champion Maria Sharapova. As a 4 time Grand Slam champion, experience is certainly on the Russians side. This is Maria's third consecutive appearance in the final at Roland Garros and she will be keen to make it 2 from 3 on Saturday.

In 2012 at the Australian Open Maria Sharapova faced an in form first time finalist Victoria Azarenka for the title. Azarenka comprehensively defeated Sharapova to claim her first Grand Slam title. Can Halep achieve a similar result?

Simona and Maria squared off just a few weeks ago in the Mutua Madrid Open final. Simona won the first set before Maria steadied to claim her first title in Madrid. The courts in Madrid are much quicker than the courts in Paris, the conditions in Paris should favour Simona.

Halep certainly has a game that can trouble Maria, a mix of tactically sound aggression and solid defence. Sharapova hasn't been at her best in her past few matches. After her semi-final victory over Bouchard, Sharapova stated that she believed she was below her best.

Simona isn't as powerful as Maria but she can attack just as effectively. Halep is certainly a better mover around the court and is better defensively. Maria does have a bigger serve but it hasn't been firing in her last few matches. Halep has a very underrated and effective serve which seems to be ever improving.  I have a feeling Halep will be too good for Sharapova on Saturday.

Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Maria Sharapova 6-4 4-6 6-2

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