Friday 6 June 2014

Roland Garros Final 2014 Preview (Sharapova vs Halep)

Maria Sharapova along with Serena Williams had been the favourite when walking into the Roland Garros. Serena Williams had lost all but one match on clay this year to Jana Ceplova, while Sharapova's only loss on clay this year came at the hands of Ana Ivanovic, 2008 Roland Garros Champion.

Garbine Muguruza, made Sharapova the favourite for the title when she took Williams to woodshed in the second round, handing the younger Williams her worst ever defeat at a Grand Slam.

Sharapova complied with her being favourite by marching into the final of Roland Garros and in the process becoming the first player to reach the final of Roland Garros three straight years since Justine Henin's run of 2004-2007.

Awaiting Sharapova in the final will be Simona Halep, the 2008 junior Roland Garros champion. Guess, who was the last player to win the junior and the professional Roland Garros title? Yes, it was Justine Henin.

Halep's only clay loses this year have been to Svetlana Kuznetsova (Halep avenged that by beating Kuznetsova in the quarter-finals), and Maria Sharapova. 

Simona Halep has not lost a set in her route to the final, while Sharpaova has lost 3 sets in her last 3 matches. The highest ranked player Halep beat on her way to the final was Sloane Stephens, while the highest ranked player Sharapova beat was the rising Candanian Eugenie Bouchard. No player has faced a top 10 player so far, thanks to the upsets.

This is a fitting finale in that both players have had a good clay season. The match pits the quick movement of Halep against the grit and determination of Sharapova. Sharapova is a huge fighter. In retrospect, not having a tough match will only hurt Halep, while rallying from a set down in her last 3 matches is only going to benefit Sharapova.

Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova won their first grand slams in their finest grand slam finals at the expense of Sharapova. Sara Errani failed to follow the suite in 2012 Roland Garros final. Will Halep join Azarenka and Kvitova or will Sharapova finally repeat at a grand slam, only time will tell us.

For now, Halep will have to come out on fire and stay on fire till the end and try to get it done in straight sets. Halep is out for revenge while Sharapova is out to prove her doubters wrong. Who will triumph in the end, Sharapova seems more likely to have an edge. Remember, Halep came out flat in her first Grand Slam quarter-final against Cibulkova at the Australian Open this year.

This promises to be a great match and whoever wins the match will no doubt be the deserving Grand Slam champion. My mind says Sharapova, but I think Halep too is in for it.

Pick: Sharapova in three sets.

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