Halep vs. Wozniacki
|Date & Time||Friday January 26, 2018, 10:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Caroline Wozniacki and Simona Halep meet in the final of the 2018 Australian Open.
Caroline Wozniacki is coming off a straight sets win over Elise Mertens that took 22 games to decide. In the victory, Wozniacki won 84 percent of her first serve points and 53 percent of her second serve points. Wozniacki won a nervous second set tiebreak to advance past the semifinals, and she dropped just seven of 44 first serve points. Wozniacki has been much more improved with her serve in this tournament and has dominated pretty much all 10 of the sets she’s won. However, nerves were clearly an issue in the second set, and it’ll be interesting to see if she can keep those in check here. Wozniacki is in her first grand slam final since the 2014 US Open, and she hopes to win her first career grand slam title. Wozniacki is 0-2 in grand slam final appearances and 22-17 in final appearances on hard court overall. Wozniacki has won 14 of his last 15 matches on hard court.
Simona Halep is coming off a three sets win over Angelique Kerber that took 35 games to decide. In the victory, Halep won 67 percent of her first serve points and 33 percent of her second serve points. Halep could have easily lost her semifinal match after getting down a break in the third set, but she dug deep and showed that she has come a long way in terms of her mental approach under coach Darren Cahill. Halep has battled an ankle injury, a couple of tight matches and has still managed to put herself in a grand slam final with a chance to secure the No. 1 ranking in the world. Confidence has to be high for Halep, but conditioning will be interesting given the long match she just played. Halep is in her first grand slam final since the 2017 French Open, and she hopes to win her first career grand slam title. Halep is 0-2 in grand slam final appearances and 9-5 in final appearances on hard court overall. Halep has won 12 straight matches on hard court.
These two have played six times and Wozniacki has won four of those meetings. The most recent match was in the 2017 WTA Championships, a match Wozniacki won in straight sets. Wozniacki has won the last three meetings against Halep, and her last loss came in the 2015 Dubai Tennis Championships. Three of the six matches have gone the distance. Halep is 2-1 against Wozniacki on outdoor hard court.
Nerves may be the deciding factor in this match, as neither have won a grand slam, and while they’re both established names and are considered some of the best players in the world, a grand slam title adds a little something extra to your resume. And I’m picking Halep to win this match. The only thing that’s been holding Halep back in the past was the mental game, as she’d get so down on herself after a poorly played game and allow it to leak into the rest of the match. Halep has been a lot more positive recently and shows a lot better body language regardless of the score. Halep would already have grand slam titles if this was improved years ago. Wozniacki has been lights out this tournament, but she does have a history of choking in big matches and was showing signs of nerves in her second set of the semifinals. And while Wozniacki loves to run and chase down balls, Halep is one of a few players who can match her fitness and push the pace with her. Halep also has the power advantage on outdoor hard court, proving that her power may be the deciding factor in this match.
Great final and somebody’s career will be changed forever, but I have Halep winning her first major.