Simona Halep vs Sloane Stephens, Cincinnati SF Preview

Western & Southern Open, ??? Cincinnati SF Preview + Prediction
SF #2: (2) ?? Simona Halep vs (wc) ?? Sloane Stephens

Simona Halep and Sloane Stephens will contest Saturday’s second semi-final at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. Halep’s quest to finally claim the world number 1 ranking is still alive in Cincinnati, if the Romanian wins the title she will overtake Karolina Pliskova and become the new world number 1. Halep will be a strong favourite heading into this semi-final clash given she has won the last three matches against Stephens, most recently a few weeks ago in Washington D.C where Halep won in straight sets. However, Sloane Stephens is in impeccable form and will enter this match with nothing to lose, making her a dangerous opponent.

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Simona Halep has progressed to the semi-final stage in Cincinnati without dropping a set. Halep started the event with comfortable straight set wins over Taylor Townsend and Anastasija Sevastova. Halep’s biggest challenge came at the quarter-final stage where she went up against Johanna Konta. Despite some trouble closing out the match, Halep managed to secure an important 6-4 7-6 win.

Sloane Stephens had not won a match in 2017 heading into the Rogers Cup, since then Stephens has won 8 of her last 9 matches after the semi-final stage in Toronto last week. Stephens has dropped just one set on route to the semi-final stage in Cincinnati. Stephens started the week by defeating Lucie Safarova and Petra Kvitova for the second week in a row. Stephens was pushed to the limit by Ekaterina Makarova as she was forced to come from a set down before claiming a 6-1 7-6 win over Julia Goerges to secure her place in the semi-finals.

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Halep holds a 4-2 head-to-head record over Stephens and has won their three most recent matches. The most recent match between the two was a few weeks ago in Washington D.C. Halep won 7-6 6-0.

I have to give the edge to Halep here, however I think this will be a close match with a few tough moments for Halep. The Romanian has much more experience in big matches at this level and always plays great tennis in Cincinnati. The pressure will be on Halep here, she is expected to win this match and the number 1 ranking is again on the line. After surviving a late scare against Johanna Konta and claiming a confidence boosting win, I suspect a relieved Halep will ultimately outlast Stephens in a match that will feature a lot of long rallies.

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Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Sloane Stephens in 3 sets

10 responses to “Simona Halep vs Sloane Stephens, Cincinnati SF Preview”

  1. Either can win in 3. It could be a tight 2 sets win also. So, over should hit.

    Halep becomes nervous and weak whenever there is something on the line(…like the World No.1 ranking, or when close to the Business end of big Tournaments like the Connecticut Open.). Halep’s endurance reduces as the match progresses especially in the later half of the 2nd set and completely down in the 3rd set. Yesterday, halep became weak (and allowed a flakey Konta to come back) and nearly lost the 2nd set against Konta.

    This has a 3-setter written all over it (as wtaddict predicted) as Sloane is playing very good with confidence and with 100% of the home crowd behind her to play fearlessly. So Sloane can win a set and halep can try to win in the 3rd set, if she has any endurance left.

    OK, buckle up your seat belts to watch a roller-coaster of a match!

    Congrats wtaddict for correctly predicting a Mugurza win! But it happened in 2 instead of 3!

    • No rollercoaster in the end… thanks, the set prediction is more for fun, picking the winner is all I’m trying to do

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