By Ros Satar, in Paris
- Five Reasons why Simona Halep will win Roland Garros
PARIS, FRANCE – Simona Halep stands at the threshold of finally winning a Slam title, with Sloane Stephens standing in her way – we look at five reasons why this will be her time.
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This is the fourth Slam final Simona Halep has reached, her third at Roland Garros, her second this year, and her second straight final here. She has held on to the World No. 1 spot with her win over Garbiñe Muguruza in the semi-final, and as Sloane Stephens said after her semi-final – Halep is the World No. 1 for a reason.
It was so very close in Australia in the final set, and her last two Slam finals, and while she may still feel like the perennial bridesmaid, she is knocking on thw door harder and harder, and it feels like this time it will buckle.
Embracing the nerves
Halep told us earlier in the tournament that of course she feels the nerves and the weight of expectation but whereas it was clear for all to see that she crumbled when within sight of the finish line last year, she has learned to harness that aspect of her character.
Conquering the lack of a coaching time-out
One of the criticisms of Halep last year was perhaps a reliance on the ability to have on-court coaching on the tour cost her the final, as she wavered when the chips were down and could not find any answer.
Again, she has been refreshingly frank about this, and we have seen for ourselves twice in the tournament that she has developed a way of working out the kinks for herself.
On a four-match winning streak against Stephens
We should be in for a lot of running on Saturday – the pair are evenly matched, both athletic, both aggressive from the baseline, both with functioning serves and this looks like it will be a hard-fought final.
What was most impressive is that Halep’s last two rounds were tricky, to say the least. She outlasted Angelique Kerber once more in the toothy end of a Slam, and she demolished Muguruza certainly in the fourth set and had the measure of everything the Spaniard could throw at her.
Not only is Halep on a four-match winning streak against Stephens, the last time she beat her on clay was here, on her way to her first Grand Slam final.
Accepting she may never get there may just be the edge she needs
There was a concern that once getting the World No. 1 ranking, she would struggle under the weight of that mantle, but she has worn it surprisingly well. She told us once she would welcome the chance to have that accolade, and it seems to have given her an edge of achievement.
There is more than just a little mirror of the dilemma that Andy Murray faced, finally getting over the line on his fifth attempt. He too came to accept that he might never do it, and once he had it gave him a sense of peace, and from there – the rest is history.
While we don’t want Halep to go one more without getting that elusive title, she is playing consistently well to suggest she will have many more attempts but that sense os acceptance might just be the edge she needs to get the job done.
POLL: Who win will the Roland Garros women’s singles title?
The Roland Garros Women’ Singles title will be at 3pm on Saturday (2pm BST).
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