?? Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Final Preview
?? (1) Simona Halep vs. ?? (4) Elina Svitolina
A blockbuster final is set for Sunday in Rome as the world number 1 Simona Halep takes on defending champion Elina Svitolina in a repeat of last year’s final. Halep and Svitolina are probably the top 2 performers on a clay court on the WTA tour, the two favourites heading into Roland Garros in a week’s time. This is the perfect lead-up to the second Grand Slam of the year.
Halep and Svitolina both arrived in Rome on the back of some relatively disappointing results, both would have been eager to gain some momentum in Rome ahead of Roland Garros and both have done just that.
Halep started the week with a straight set win over Naomi Osaka before receiving a walkover into the quarter-finals courtesy of Madison Keys. At the quarter-final stage Halep claimed a 6-2 6-3 win over Caroline Garcia before battling past Maria Sharapova 4-6 6-1 6-4 in a high intensity match.
Elina Svitolina has navigated her way through a tough draw to reach a third final of 2018. Svitolina started the event with an easy straight set win over Petra Martic before recovering from a lacklustre opening set to beat Daria Kasatkina 0-6 6-3 6-2. Svitolina secured her spot in the final with hard-fought straight set wins over quality opponents, beating Angelique Kerber 6-4 6-4 and Anett Kontaveit 6-4 6-3.
Svitolina holds a 3-1 head-to-head advantage over Halep. All of their previous matches took place last year, Svitolina claimed a 3 set win in the Rome final before Halep came from a set and a double break down to beat the Ukrainian at the quarter-final stage at Roland Garros. Svitolina has won the last couple of the matches between the pair, both on a hard court. 6-1 6-1 win at the Rogers Cup and 6-3 6-4 in Singapore. This is an exciting match-up between two extremely evenly matched players, who will prevail on this occasion?