Jeļena Ostapenko (LAT) vs (3) Simona Halep (ROM)
There wouldn’t have been many who would’ve picked 47th ranked to be part of the French Open final a fortnight ago. It’s been an incredible run by the unseeded 19 year old who has taken several big scalps including the likes of Puig, Stosur and Wozniacki.
Her opponent is number 3 seed Simona Halep who was one of the hot favourites for the title with the absence of Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. Halep has been in great form having dropped just the two sets en-route to the final.
These two have never met before and Ostapenko has never won a tour level title. For Halep, this is the second time she has made the French Open final and she will be looking to go one better than she did in 2014. It’s a fascinating match-up as regardless of the result, we will have a new first-time major winner.
How Jeļena Ostapenko will win…
Ostapenko loves playing an aggressive style of tennis and she will be looking to pick off any short balls from Halep and put them away for winners. She is solid on both wings but it will be crucial for her to keep her error count down. Halep will make her hit plenty of shots so she will need to pick the right shots to go after.
How Simona Halep will win…
I expect Halep to play her natural counterpunching game and expect her to use her excellent court speed to run down plenty of shots and force Ostapenko to hit errors. The clay court will suit this game-style as Ostapenko may find it difficult to get past Halep from the back of the court. Halep generally makes few errors so she will be happy to keep the points lengthy and be patient – a tactic which often works on this surface.
Halep fell short here in 2014 in 3 tight sets to Maria Sharapova in a match that lasted over 3 hours. Ostapenko has picked the biggest stage to partake in her first tour final. She comes into the final with little expectation but may find it difficult not to let the pressure get to her. She has had a great run throughout the tournament but arguably comes up against the form player in the final.
Halep particularly enjoys playing on the clay and has played in several big grand slam matches in the past. I expect her to be too strong for Ostapenko and claim her first grand slam title.
Halep in straight sets.