Despite each of the top three seeds in the women's singles draw crashing out of the first week at Roland Garros, a pair of top-10 players, including a past champion, will battle for the 2014 French Open women's championship on Saturday.
Joining three-time French Open finalist and 2012 champion Maria Sharapova in Saturday's marquee showdown is world No. 4 Simona Halep, a 22-year-old who burst onto the scene in 2014 and finds herself just one win away from her first career Grand Slam triumph.
With the stage set for a can't-miss title clash, here is everything you need to know to make sure you don't miss a single point.
When: Saturday, June 7
Start Time: 9 a.m. ET
Where: Court Philippe Chatrier, Roland Garros in Paris
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
Sharapova and Halep have similar styles of play, as both like to attack from the baseline and would no doubt describe themselves as aggressive.
Both players display exceptional footwork as well. Sharapova has improved her movement on the clay over the years and uses her height to her advantage when chasing down balls. Meanwhile, Halep is always moving her feet and is phenomenal when forced to scramble.
Adding to this fascinating matchup is the fact that both women are playing at an extremely high level coming into Saturday's final. Both have been incredibly clutch as well, per Roland Garros on Twitter:
Viewers will want to keep an eye on Halep's unforced error count this weekend. The 22-year-old rarely beats herself and is sensational at keeping the point alive.
On the other side of the net, be sure to monitor Sharapova's serve. She has fallen victim to nerves in the past and as recently as the semifinals. If she continues to struggle with the ball toss and starts racking up double faults, it could spell doom.
Although Sharapova has now reached the French Open women's final for the third time in as many years, her 2014 run has been far from convincing. Each of her past three matches has gone the distance after she dropped the first set.
While the No. 7 seed has clearly proven she's capable of overcoming a slow start, she can ill afford to fall into an early hole against Halep, who is in form and pressing all of the right buttons.
Nonetheless, tennis fans are certainly due for a competitive final, as pointed out by The New York Times' Ben Rothenberg:
But Sharapova is the favorite for good reason. She has performed on this stage in the past and is a proven champion. Halep clearly possesses the game to break through at a Grand Slam, but she'll be at a significant disadvantage from an experience standpoint having never been past the quarterfinals at a major before this week.
Sharapova also possesses the head-to-head advantage:
Still, these are two similar and evenly matched players who are likely to go the distance this weekend. Given Sharapova's recent trend of sluggish starts, watch for Halep to take the early lead on Saturday only to watch Sharapova come storming back to win her second French Open crown in three years.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova def. Simona Halep, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
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