WTA Roland Garros Final Preview: Maria Sharapova v Simona Halep

Sharapova

In a draw that has been littered with shocks and members of the WTA new generation making their presence known, we are left with a fantastic showpiece featuring the world numbers four and eight, Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova.  The  Roland Garros final will be a repeat of the Madrid final, which was played four weeks ago.  So much has been said (including by myself) in terms of Madrid not being the most solid indicator for Roland Garros because the conditions are so different, yet here we are with a repeat final.  In truth, it probably has more to do with the fact that Sharapova and Halep are two of the best WTA players on clay.

Sharapova’s route through the draw has been pretty treacherous; after cruising through her first three matches of the tournament including a double bagel demolition of Paula Ormaechea in the third round, Maria has been pushed to three sets in her last three matches.  More noteworthy is that she has come from a set down in all three matches and lost no more than two games in the deciding set.  Her victory over Sam Stosur looked to be the clincher.  From 6-3 *4-4 down, she won eight consecutive games, putting in a magnificent display in the third set and a feisty celebration that signaled she meant business; however Maria was severely tested in her quarter-final and semi-final matches with Garbine Muguruza and Eugenie Bouchard, and teetered on the edge of defeat in both matches.  She started slow, especially against Muguruza, and struggled on serve hitting a combined 17 double faults in her last two matches.

Halep’s passage could not have been any different to Sharapova’s.  She hasn’t lost a set on her march into a first Grand Slam final.  In the semi-finals, she defeated Andrea Petkovic, 6-2 7-6(4).  The last few games of that match were high quality and there were some great rallies.  Halep held her nerve tremendously well in the second set tiebreak.  Although she hasn’t had a particularly testing draw, she has still had to navigate herself past some tricky opponents in Sloane Stephens (R4) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (QF).  All week, she has looked calm, composed and assured, and in complete control of her game.  She has been breaking new ground constantly having never made it past the second round of the French Open before, but she hasn’t looked phased by any of it.

The final should be a fitting conclusion to what has been a great Roland Garros for the women.  There have been some excellent matches and it is refreshing to have seen some competitive matches later on in the tournament.  Sharapova has won all three previous matches against Halep including that final in Madrid, which she won, 1-6 6-2 6-3.  When Sharapova was struggling for rhythm, Halep sweeped up beautifully in the first set; however when Sharapova was on the money, Halep really didn’t have any answers.  This will be Halep’s first Grand Slam final.  It is impossible to gauge how she will react to the situation because players respond differently.  She will obviously be nervous, but whether that has a significant impact on her game won’t be known until the match kicks off.

Personally, i’d love, love, LOVE to see Simona prevail.  Sharapova though is such a tremendous competitor and she has cemented that even more throughout this tournament.  At times she has looked incredibly ropey, but her sheer grit and determination has got her into the final.  Halep can hit plentiful winners off both wings, but whether she can do that consistently against Maria, I have my doubts.  Simona will have to be aggressive to win.  Playing consistently may get her a set, but to win the title she will need to be dynamic and take chances…

Prediction: Sharapova d. Halep in 3 sets

I’d love to hear from you and your thoughts on this final. Can Halep do it? I know there are some big Simona fans out there! In the semi-final polls, 63% correctly went for Sharapova to beat Bouchard and 76% correctly went for Halep to beat Petkovic. 

14 thoughts on “WTA Roland Garros Final Preview: Maria Sharapova v Simona Halep

  1. cannot stand Halep. No personality whatsoever despite all the shots. She’s too focused on tennis, treating it like some 9 to 5 job instead of a passion. shes is potentially the wta player I dislike most. However at least my dislike for her is a long way off Murray and Nadal. She would be the most irrelavent and unknown No.1 ever turning women’s tennis into a joke. Also who gets a breast reduction? Especially for tennis reasons, how desperate. Praying for a Sharapova victory!

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    • Guys, belive me now…Halep will beat Sharapova!!! Sharapova has no chance here…she plays horrible and serves really awful…

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    • Rishi, the only joke around here is you I’m afraid.

      Too focused on tennis? You’re joking right? And, believe it or not, it is her job, and her passion for tennis is clear every time she plays and speaks. To be passionate, you don’t have to scream at 95 decibels or do ridiculous fistpumps on every winning point. She’s a (relatively) ‘silent assassin’, and a refreshing change in the modern game.

      Have you seen her on Game, Set & Mats at all this week? Given that her English is relatively poor and she is quite shy, she is utterly charming and personable. Give her 2-3 years to improve her English, and everyone will see what a lovely, humble personality she has.

      Quite the opposite of being irrelevant, she’s the best thing to happen to the women’s game in a long time. Super-talented, thoughtful, has a beautiful game to watch, and she never gives up.

      Go Simona! Do your best to grab that title!

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    • PS You should know she had the breast reduction because they were causing her back pain in her tennis, and in her day-to-day life. She said she would have got it done, regardless of whether she was a sportswoman or not.

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      • Thank you Gavin! Finally someone that knows what they’re talking about! Breast reduction is indeed done for pain reduction especially in the back. That goes for all, not just sports women.

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    • Wtf now i can understand why my friend thought that comment was by me.Totally agree! Who does she think she is rising from no.57 to no.4 in a year acting like she belongs with the top. Shes is not elite! When any of Sharapova serena or azarenka play well she doesnt have an answer. Her success is based on taking advantage of the failiure of the WTA.

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  2. why would Halep get a breast reduction to help her become one of the best tennis players in the world and avoid back and other health problems later in life? and Maria sharapova, one of the greatest competitors in sport and a multi grand slam champion, has no chance of beating a woman whos never been close to a final before? two incredibly intelligent comments! (for the record, i hope, and pray, halep can win.)

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  3. Hey Rishi,

    You Sir are an idiot. Nice intellectually void comments. She has zero personality and has had a breast reduction. One can only hope that your faced with a reduction in the privates one day…and not by choice.

    Anyways, for those of you who care to leave intelligent comments, this is a really difficult to determine final…as although Sharapova has had the best of Halep, even recently in the past, for some reason it appears we have a different Halep at Roland Garros. It also appears, as outlined before, that Maria is unable to string together consistent effort. Thus I feel that there is a larger margin than normal for her to lose this match…but seeing she has let first set losses prove ineffectual, I am still afraid to bet against her and her will.

    The only winner of this match will be us fans. Two great players, and regardless of who wins, we will have a solid champion.

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  4. Rishi m8, u got a weird mind my friend. Looking at what u write i understand more and more how blessed i am not having friends like u , brothers or parents. What u have u can`t cure, and the bad thing for u is some disease are hidden , yours is open in the daylight for everyone to see . Your mind is your worst enemy and u hate so much other ppl and things because u don`t understand a lots of things in life.

    Read a book or something , it might be helpful .

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  5. Didn’t realise how much hate I was going to get. The breast thing is understandable now that I know it wasn’t purely for tennis reasons.

    But I still dislike her as my type of player is one who screams at 95 decibels or fist pumps on every point as long as they still look human and not like some wild dog.

    Halep isn’t very ruthless and may be a nicer, more innocent person than Sharapova but I find that boring. I don’t support players that come across to me as the most villainous of the evil, but I do like players that are a bit more intense and have some evil in them.

    Good luck to both players. And if Halep does win (I think whoever wins 1st set wins match) she deserves it, as currently I don’t give her much respect for her 7 titles. 3 internationals, 2 premiers with fields of players who tend to be on bad form , that championship for international winners which doesn’t make sense, and a premier without the real big 3 (serena, maria, vika).

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  6. What a great match from both of them! In the end, it was just Maria rasing her level and making the last 8 points I think. I’ve seen it often enough from her, she is just competitive and really at 100% when it counts. All in all a great contest!!! However, there was something I really got annoyed with: Maria needed so much time in between her 1st and 2nd serves that the people were really annoyed, she also made Simona wait all the time when she was receiving, often holding her racket in the air, really doing psycho games, not to mention that I think she received coaching from her team throughout the match. At least she got one time warning by Kader Nouni in the 3rd set – I think this was too late, he should have given it earlier. This was all in all very unfair! I’ve never been a big fan of her personality but this made me angry and makes me wish that she will never ever have another win against Serena.

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    • It sounded like a great match, Murphy! I watched the third set and was taken aback by how good it was. It must have been even better live! That doesn’t surprise me about Maria. The grunting is pure gamesmanship. I’ve seen her practice before and she barely makes a noise…

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