French Open 2014 Women's Final: Sharapova vs. Halep Preview and Prediction

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French Open 2014 Women's Final: Sharapova vs. Halep Preview and Prediction
Darko Vojinovic/Associated Press
Maria Sharapova lets out her signature scream as she hits a forehand against Eugenie Bouchard in the semifinals.

The 2014 French Open women's final, featuring No. 8 Maria Sharapova and No. 4 Simona Halep, renews that age-old rivalry between the haves and the have-nots. 

Sharapova, who earns more money in endorsements than any woman in sports, has four Grand Slam titles. Halep, although ranked four spots higher than Sharapova, is relatively unknown outside of the tennis world. This will be her first Slam final. 

It's the ninth Grand Slam final for Sharapova and her third consecutive at Roland Garros. Tagged the "Queen of Clay," she has played this tournament more like a knight, fighting her way through battles to capture a throne.

Indeed, Sharapova circulates among tennis royalty. Among active players, she is third, only behind Serena Williams (17) and Venus Williams (seven) in terms of most Slams won.

Meanwhile, Halep is more like the commoner who is slowly climbing her way toward nobility. She didn't arrive on the scene as a teen sensation as did Princess Sharapova. Halep strove through smaller tournaments to rise up the ranks.

Born without the gift of height and natural power, Halep has mastered her skills. Tennis coaches around the world must be pleased to watch a player who executes fundamentally sound tennis. 

In a contest that pits power against precision and queen versus commoner, expect a royal showdown for the French Open crown.

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