French Open WTA Final – Can Stephens Pull Off ‘Upset’ Over World No. 1 Halep?
After losing in the finals at Roland Garros in 2014 and 2017, World No. 1 Simona Halep will hope the third time is the charm when she takes on World No. 10 Sloane Stephens in the 2018 French Open Finals.
If you’re wondering whether Stephens can pull off the upset or whether Halep is the pick to finally win her first major, then let’s get to my expert WTA French Open Finals pick right now.
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 8, 2018
What: World No. 1 Simona Halep vs. World No. 10 Sloane Stephens
When: Saturday, June 9 at 8:00 AM
Where: Roland Garros, Paris, France
Simona Halep beat Taylor Townsend in the first round, Andrea Petkovic in the second round and Elise Mertens in the third round, all in straight sets. Halep then needed three sets to get past World No. 12 Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals before thrashing World No. 3 and 2016 French Open winner Garbiñe Muguruza 6-1, 6-4 in the semis on Thursday.
Halep won 61 percent of her first serve points and 50 percent of her second serve points while winning 56 percent of her return points and breaking Muguruza six times. Halep has produced one bagel, three one-game wins and one two-game victory this tournament and has the look of someone determined to finally claim her first grand slam title after going 0-3 in slam finals in her career.
Sloane Stephens beat Magdalena Frech in straight sets in the first round, but then almost got bounced out in the second round before narrowly getting past the talented Camila Giorgi 8-6 in the third set in the second round. Stephens then beat the hell out of Anett Kontaveit 6-2, 6-0 in the third round before doing the same to Daria Kasatkina in the quarterfinals. Stephens then took out fellow American Madison Keys 6-4, 6-4 in the semis by winning a blistering 77 percent of her first serve points and 62 percent of her second serve points. Stephens also won a stupendous 71 percent of her total service points and had just 11 unforced errors in the match.
Halep and Stephens have played each other seven times with Halep winning five matches, including four straight dating back to 2013. Halep has also won both of their career meetings on clay with both victories coming in straight sets back in 2012 at Barcelona and 2014 here at Roland Garros. Four of Halep’s five career wins over Stephens have come in straight sets, but Sloane Stephens is not the same player that she used to be when her mental game was a lot weaker, to be honest about it.
Still, I’m going with Simona Halep to finally overcome her grand slam finals demons to get the huge win to claim her first grand slam title. Stephens won the U.S. Open in 2017, but right now, it looks like Simona Halep’s time!
Prediction: Simona Halep in Three Sets