After 2 weeks of competitive tennis in the Women’s singles, we are down to our final two players – Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep. Sharapova, the 7th seed, reached this year’s final by beating upcoming Eugenie Bouchard in three sets 4-6 7-5 6-2 after losing the first set. Halep, the 4th seed, completed her quest for the final by defeating Andrea Petkovic who made a surprise run to the semi-finals. The Romanian winning 6-2 7-6 (4).
During her run to the final, Sharapova had to come back from a set down in 3 of her 6 matches which were her last three rounds before the final. In Contrast, Halep made her route look like a breeze with the diminutive Romanian not dropping a set along the way, despite having to play Sloane Stephens and former Roland Garros winner Svetlana Kuznetsova.
The pair have met on three occasions before with Sharapova winning each one, including their recent meeting in the Madrid final with the Russian running out a 1-6 6-2 6-3 winner. Prior to their recent meet, their other two matches were back in 2012 in Indian Wells and then Beijing. Sharapova won both matches in straight sets but Saturday’s contest will be alot tighter, as the result in Madrid shows.
This will be Sharapova’s 9th Grand Slam final whereas Halep will contest her very first after an impressive start to the year, including that final in Madrid and title in Doha. All of Maria’s previous Grand Slam finals have all required only two sets but her continued fightbacks and the fact Halep still hasn’t lost a set at this year’s event means that is likely to change.
It’s always difficult to pick a winner in any Grand Slam final but if I had to pick a winner, my money would be on Sharapova due to the fact she has been required to come back in half of her matches this tournament and the amount of experience she has in the big matches. That said, I’m not ruling out Halep at all, as she hasn’t even lost a set yet. I just think the head-to-head gives Maria the advantage and she may be able to deal with the nerves more than the young Romanian. However, if Simona comes out all guns blazing then there’s no reason to deny her a Grand Slam title.
Whatever happens it will be memorable.
Halep’s route to the final:
R1 – Kleybanova 6-0, 6-2
R2 – Watson 6-2, 6-4
R3 – Torro-Flor 6-3, 6-0
R4 – Stephens (15) 6-4, 6-3
QF – Kuznetsova (27) 6-2, 6-2
SF – Petkovic (28) 6-2, 7-6 (4)
Sharapova’s route to the final:
R1 – Pervak (Q) 6-1 6-2
R2 – Pironkova 7-5, 6-2
R3 – Ormaechea 6-0 6-0
R4 – Stosur (19) 3-6, 6-4, 6-0
QF – Muguruza 1-6, 7-5, 6-1
SF – Bouchard (18) 4-6, 7-5, 6-2