The Roland Garros final comes with some nice betting opportunities, in my opinion. Number one in the world and #1 seed, Simona Halep, will face number 10 in the world and 10th seed, American Sloane Stephens, in an epic clash on 9th of June, around 15:00 French Time.
This is the most important match of Halep’s career, by far, and also one of the most facile she could ever have. Let’s talk a little about Halep here. She loves the red dirt and her favorite tournament is Roland Garros. She has an amazing 173W-59L on clay in her career. In her last 3 seasons, she lost only 9 battles on clay and won 45 of them, winning 2 Masters titles and 1 WTA title during that time.
Her results in Roland Garros can be called good, reaching 3 finals in the past 5 seasons, lost final in 2014 to Sharapova, lost final in 2017 to Ostapenko and now will face Sloane in 2018 final. The hardest to digest for Halep was the final against Ostapenko when she was 1.44 fave to win the title, and she was 6-4 3-0* up and had 3 double-break points over Ostapenko. From that point, Halep lost 6 of the last 8 service games and faced BPs in 7 of those 8. It is true that Ostapenko was in the zone in the last 2 sets hitting 40 winning during those sets.
Halep’s campaign this year in Roland Garros was quite impressive to be honest, despite starting really slow (was down 5-0 to Riske in the 1st set played in #RG18). After that, she won next two sets 6-1 6-1 to Riske (#83), won 6-3 6-1 vs Townsend (#72), 7-5 6-0 vs Petkovic (#107), 6-2 6-1 vs Mertens (#16), 6-7 6-3 6-2 vs Kerber (#12) and 6-1 6-4 vs Muguruza (#3). She was VERY impressive during all her matches and she spent 9 hours 7 minutes on-court during her 6 matches played. Look at the stats of 2018 for Halep: 70.7% service games won and 49.7% of the return games, during the 32 matches played. That is a combined ratio of 120,40, which INSANELY good! If those were insanely good, just take a look at the #RG18 stats: She held serve 43/57 service games (75,44%) and broke serve 38/60 return games (63,33%)… this combined ratio give her a total of 138,77. And these stats came against opposing players like Muguruza, Mertens, and Kerber!
Stephens is the hard-court player that got into the final by chance (in my opinion). She doesn’t belong here and defeated players like Rus, Frech, Giorgi, Kontaveit, Kasatkina and Keys to get here. Only players which were made for clay that she defeated (and have a high level of tennis) were Kontaveit (which came after 2+ hours against Kvitova) and Kasatkina (which lost her head during the QF). During her 21 matches played in 2018, she broke 47.8% of times and held serve 64,3%. The combined total is 112,10, compared to 120,40 of Halep. During Roland Garros, she has broken 31/56 return games (55,36%) and held serve 47/55 (85,45%). The combined total in this case is better than Halep’s but is just a combination of weak opponents, luck, and poor performances: 140,81, compared to the 138,77 of Halep. The results of Sloane on clay in her career are 86W-45L and she has reached 4 times the R16 in Roland Garros so far. Her last losses at RG were against Halep, Williams, and Pironkova.
If the stats and opponents at Roland Garros aren’t enough, the head-to-head results and match-up will make you understand why Halep should win this match rather easily. Halep won last 4 direct matches, all of them in straight sets. There was only one clay court match played in the last 4 (and all in straight sets), the one in Roland Garros 2014, where Halep won 6-4 6-3 (both players improved since quite heavily). Last two matches were played on Sloane’s favorite surface (hard courts), in AMERICA (where Sloane plays her best tennis). Halep won 7-6 6-0 in Washington and 6-2 6-1 in Cincinnati. Let’s talk stats of those last two matches because the other came in 2015 or older. During those two matches, Halep held serve 15/16 service games (93,75%) and broke serve 9/17 return games (52,94%), which gives her a total of 146,69. Sloane, on the other hand, held serve 8/17 service games (47,06%) and broke serve 1/16 (6,25%), which gives her a total of 53,31. Remember she broke Halep just once (Halep biggest weakness is her serve).
Match-up wise, we can see that Halep DOESN’T struggle against Sloane in any way, on any given surface. She can outlast Sloane in rallies, she can punish her serve while protecting her weak serve quite impressively. I have no doubt that Halep has a better forehand, a better backhand, a better movement, a better stamina, a better clay-court overall tennis, while Sloane has just a better serve and a better record in Slam finals (Opposition were hugely different – I am sure Sloane would have lost all 3 finals that Halep played in straight sets).
The only factor that I can think of that can influence in any way the outcome, is the fact that Halep lost all 3 Slam finals (Sharapova – RG14. Ostapenko – RG17, Wozniacki – AO18), and all in 3 hard sets, while Sloane won her only Slam final (Keys US17), quite easily. There also will be huge pressure on Halep, as everybody says “This is the best chance she got to win a Slam” and they are right, to be honest.
Current form, head-to-head, the match-up, the recent and long-term form, the surface, the weather (expected showers and 18-27 degrees Celcius, which mean slower conditions) talk not only about a Halep win here, but also a straight set HALEP win here!