|Date & Time||Saturday June 7, 2014, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Simona Halep
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Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep will meet Saturday in the 2014 French Open Final. It’s not exactly the matchup many tennis fans were expecting.
Sharapova, who entered this tournament as one of the favorites, has cruised through her matches, winning 12 of 15 sets. However, it hasn’t exactly been easy for Sharapova, as her last three matches have needed three sets to be decided, including her most recent match against Eugenie Bouchard. In fact, she’s lost the first set in all three of those matches. Sharapova is certainly no stranger to success in this tournament, as she’s reached the final of the French Open now four straight years and won the tournament back in 2012. Sharapova must clean up her double faults and be a little more consistent in order to win this match against her toughest opponent yet.
Halep has been a lot more inconsistent in this tournament, winning all six of her matches in straight sets. In fact, Halep has only needed one tiebreak in this tournament and that came in her most recent match against Andrea Petkovic. This is certainly a career defining moment for Halep, a 22-year-old who will be participating in her first Grand Slam Final of her career. Until this moment, an Australian Open quarterfinal this year was the furthest Halep ever got in a Grand Slam. Halep is clearly on a mission this season, and she’s hitting the ball hard and making very few errors.
This will be the fourth time these two have met, and Sharapova has won the previous three meetings, with the most recent coming in this year’s Madrid Masters. That was their only time playing on clay and Halep lost in three sets. The other two matchups both took place in 2012, and Sharapova won both in straight sets.
Sharapova will be the favorite in this matchup, but this is truly as close to a coin flip as possible. I really like the way Halep has been playing throughout the tournament, and she certainly appears to be a lot more polished than Sharapova.
I think this is a breakthrough moment for Halep, and I expect her to finish the job for the minor upset.