The 2014 French Open has lived up to the lofty expectations placed on the tournament, and tennis fans have already turned their attention to the Day 14 schedule and Saturday’s women’s final.
After one of the most intense and unpredictable women’s brackets in Roland Garros history, unproven No. 4 seed Simona Halep will square off against defending French Open champion and No. 7 seed Maria Sharapova in a highly anticipated final.
French Open Women's Final is set. No. 7 Maria Sharapova will face No. 4 Simona Halep. pic.twitter.com/LEKrKQMa2y— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 5, 2014
Here is the viewing information and the schedule as well as a full breakdown and prediction for the women’s final.
|June 7||9 a.m. to 1 p.m.||Women’s final||NBC|
|Player 1||Player 2||Court||Predicted Winner|
|Simona Halep||vs.||Maria Sharapova||Court Chatrier||Halep|
*For the full schedule, check out RolandGarros.com.
Top Matchup on Day 14
No. 4 seed Simona Halep vs. No. 7 seed Maria Sharapova
Hardcore and casual tennis fans alike will be excited for the women’s final between Halep and Sharapova, but the kindness and hospitable behavior will end when these competitors step onto Court Chatrier.
A Grand Slam championship will be hanging in the balance on Day 14.
At only 22 years old, Halep has finally found a rhythm in her game. She did not win a singles title for over three years to start her career, but she has turned the corner physically and mentally and has racked up an incredible seven victories since June 2013.
Despite Halep's recent success, ESPN Tennis reminded fans that Sharapova still has the head-to-head advantage against Halep:
After No. 1 seed Serena Williams and No. 2 seed Li Na were eliminated early, the pressure fell on the shoulders of Halep as the top women’s seed remaining. Instead of crumbling, Halep dominated No. 15 seed Sloane Stephens, No. 27 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova and No. 28 seed Andrea Petkovic en route to the final.
As well as Halep has played, Sharapova has been just as dominant. The No. 7 seed defeated the likes of No. 19 seed Samantha Stosur, Garbine Muguruza (the woman who eliminated Williams) and No. 18 Eugenie Bouchard to earn her spot in the championship round.
When asked about struggling at times against Bouchard in the semifinals, Sharapova told Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated about her mindset and tenacity:
When you're forced to be in those situations when you're either not playing well or you find yourself in a losing position, I just don't want to give up, because I work too hard to just let a match go. You put so much effort in to get to this position. If some things are not working out, I don't just want to quit in the middle. Because when you lose the first set or a few games or you're down a break, that's not the end of the match. That's the type of philosophy that I play with.
Sharapova is known for her slow starts, and Halep must take advantage by dominating her foe in the first set. Once the Russian star is on the ropes, the Romanian must not take her foot off the throttle.
Which player will win the 2014 French Open?
While Sharapova has played well leading up to this tournament and over the two weeks in France, she doesn’t have the speed on clay to hit shots driven to open spaces on the court.
If Halep can weather the Sharapova storm and focus on ball placement that will force her opponent to constantly move across the court, the No. 4 seed will continue her rise to the top of the sport with a Grand Slam victory at Roland Garros.
Predicted Score: Halep, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
Stats via RolandGarros.com.