?? 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 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.