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Maria Sharapova vs. Simona Halep 2018 Rome Masters Tennis Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction

Halep vs. Sharapova

May 2018

The Line: -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: Tennis

Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep meet in the semifinals of the 2018 tennis Rome Masters.

Maria Sharapova is coming off a straight sets win over Jelena Ostapenko that took 35 games to decide. In the victory, Sharapova won 67 percent of her first serve points and 36 percent of her second serve points. Sharapova managed to win a match in which she didn’t serve well yet again, and it’s because she produced seven breaks of her own and took advantage of a million unforced errors from Ostapenko. Sharapova is now in her first semifinal of the year, and while she’s had to grind these matches out, she’s finding ways to come away with the big points. It’s not always pretty from Sharapova, but the results are the only thing that matter at the end of the day, and you can see the confidence starting to return. Sharapova hopes to make her first final appearance since last years Tianjin Open and her first Premier 5 Tournament final since the 2015 Rome Masters. Has made the final of this tournament three times in the past. Sharapova has won eight of her last 10 matches on clay court.

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Maria Sharapova vs. Simona Halep 2018 Rome Masters Tennis Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction

Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Simona Halep is coming off a straight sets win over Caroline Garcia that took 17 games to decide. In the victory, Halep won 72 percent of her first serve points and 21 percent of her second serve points. Halep must improve her second serve percentages, but she'll be fine regardless if she continues winning 60 percent of her return points. Halep has now won 25 of her last 31 played sets on clay court and should be rather fresh considering she’s played just games in this tournament. Things have opened up nicely for Halep to win just her third title since the start of 2017. Halep has won six of her last nine semifinal appearances. Halep hopes to make her third final appearance of the year and an eighth career final appearance in a Premier 5 tournament. Halep hopes to make it back-to-back final appearances in the Rome Masters. Halep has won 10 of her last 12 matches on clay court.

These two have played eight times and Sharapova has won seven of those meetings. The most recent match was in the 2017 Beijing Open, a match Halep won in straight sets, her only victory over Sharapova. These two have played twice on clay, both in 2014, and both meetings went three sets.

Sharapova is finding ways to win, but she’s playing a ton of tennis and still hasn’t found that killer instinct to put away opponents. It’s been back-to-back matches where Sharapova has been broken when she had a chance to serve for the match. Sharapova could have also easily lost to Ostapenko if it weren’t for a billion unforced errors. You give Halep that many chances and she’s going to drag you all over the court. She’s too feisty, too fresh and playing too well for the inconsistencies of Sharapova.

I like Halep to reach the final.

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