Stephens vs. Halep
|Date & Time||Saturday June 9, 2018, 11:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Simona Halep and Sloane Stephens meet in the final of the 2018 tennis French Open.
Simona Halep is coming off a straight sets win over Garbiñe Muguruza that took 17 games to decide. In the victory, Halep won 61 percent of her first serve points and 50 percent of her second serve points. Halep won her semifinal match due to winning 56 percent of her return points and producing six breaks. Halep has been lights out with her return this tournament and has produced a combined 14 breaks in her last two matches. However, despite how well Halep has played up to this point, she has a lot of showing and proving to do, as she’s developed a history of choking in final appearances. Halep looks for the second title of the year and her 17th title of her career. Halep has lost six of her last seven final appearances overall and is 0-3 in grand slam final appearances for her career. This is Halep’s third final appearance in the French Open. Halep has won 10 of her last 11 matches on clay court.
Sloane Stephens is coming off a straight sets win over Madison Keys that took 20 games to decide. In the victory, Stephens won 77 percent of her first serve points and 62 percent of her second serve points. Stephens won 71 percent of her total service points and had just 11 unforced errors. Stephens has dropped just one set this entire tournament and has been playing extremely clean tennis, making very few mistakes. When Stephens is keeping the ball in play and aggressive defensively, she’s one of the tougher players on tour to beat. Stephens is simply forcing her opponents to make tough shots, often beating themselves eventually. Stephens looks to win her second title of the year and her seventh title of her career. Stephens is 6-0 in career final appearances and one of those victories came on clay court. Stephens has one grand slam title under her belt, which came in the 2017 US Open. Stephens has won 10 of her last 13 matches on clay court.
These two have played seven times and Halep has won five of those meetings. The most recent match was in the 2017 Cincinnati Masters, a match Halep won in straight sets. Halep has won four straight meetings against Stephens, all in straight sets. Stephens’ last win over Halep came in the 2013 Australian Open. Halep is 2-0 against Stephens on clay.
Halep was my pick to win the French Open before the tournament, even though I picked against her in the Muguruza match. It really has a lot to do with Halep coming up small in big tournaments. We’ve lost a lot of money picking her to win in finals only to look like a different player in the last match. It won’t be easy against a mentally strong and physically fit Stephens. However, I’m backing Halep to finally get her grand slam title. If Halep was able to handle the cross shots of Muguruza and Kerber, she should have the ability to control this match as well. Halep also seems to be mentally strong, not allowing mistakes to leak into her game and pointing to her head after big points, knowing she has to stay focused. This feels like it’s finally her time.
Halep wins her first grand slam and remains the top player in the world.