Preview: The French Open Women's Final
Will it be third time lucky for Simona Halep, or another grand slam title for Sloane Stephens?
How They Got Here
Simona Halep has had an impressive tournament. She faced Alison Riske in the first round and after struggling in the first set, she fought back to win the match in three sets. She then faced American; Taylor Townsend in the second round, dropping just four games, followed by a straight set win against Andrea Petkovic.
Her impressive run continued against Elise Mertens before a very tough match against the talented Angelique Kerber. The biggest test was thought to be 3rd seed; Garbine Muguruza in the semi-final, but Muguruza did not bring her A-game to the court. Simona recorded a 6-1, 6-4 win, and in doing so; secured her place in the final.
Sloane Stephens' french open journey started against Arantxa Rus. She dropped just two games in that match, and continued her good form against Magdalena Frech, winning that match 6-2, 6-2. Her third round match was her biggest test. This was against the hard-hitting Italian; Camila Giorgi. It took three sets, and an 8-6 final set to secure her place in the fourth round.
Next up for Sloane was the well-performing Anett Kontaveit. Impressing once again, Sloane dropped just two games, winning 6-2, 6-0. She then faced 14th seed; Daria Kasatkina which was an easy straight set win. The semi-final was a repeat of the US Open final in 2017 where she faced fellow American; Madison Keys. It wasn’t meant to be for Madison as Sloane won that match in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4 securing her place in the final.
Looking at their head-to-head history, Halep does come out on top. She leads with five wins to two, and has won the last four meetings. Both of Stephens’ wins came in the same month at the beginning of 2013.
Both women are seasoned when it comes to tournament finals, but it may be a surprise to hear that Stephens has won every tournament final she has been in, and there’s been six of them (including the US Open).
Both women can hit a hard ball, and attack extremely well, but do tend to find themselves in a defensive position in their matches. Halep is the more intelligent player of the two, and has a proactive mindset that when needed, she can out-play anyone she’s up against.
Stephens best weapon is her defence, and the natural power she has in her back pocket which when used, is one of the best attacking weapons on the women's tour.
In my eyes, it will come down to this. Can Halep’s attacking offence breakdown Stephens’ brick-wall defence?
I am hoping this is going to be a great match, with some well-executed tennis. There will be inconsistency from both players, and there will be some amazing shots but who will lift the Roland Garros trophy by the end of today?
My bet is Halep. Whilst Stephens has not lost a final, Halep has been playing incredible tennis, and this could finally be her tournament to secure her first grand slam title. It’s going to be a tight match, but I think Halep will take it in three sets.