We have a surprising French Open women’s final coming up as Latvia’s young star Jelena Ostapenko is bidding to knock off Romania’s #1 Simona Halep in a matchup that will result in a maiden slam winner, regardless of the outcome. Our panelists Steen Kirby, Yesh Ginsburg, and Niall Clarke offer their previews and predictions.
Jelena Ostapenko vs. Simona Halep
Steen: Despite the big gap in ranking, both players have limited experience in Slam finals (Halep has only made 1) and should have some nerves early, especially the 20 year old Ostapenko, who has four of her six matches this week in three sets. Halep cruised early in the tournament but needed three sets in the quarterfinals and semifinals, and enters this match as the favorite, with the weight of trying to win a first slam title on her shoulders. Ostapenko deserves a lot of respect, and she’s a real contender, but as long as Halep takes the opening set she should manage to split the rest of the match and take the title. Halep in 3
Yesh: This has looked like Simona Halep’s Slam to lose since the fourth round. She almost did that when facing Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinals, but came back to win. Ostapenko is a big hitter, but not bigger than Karolina Pliskova. As long as Halep keeps her nerves in check, she should finally win this. Halep in 2
Niall: It is a first grandslam final for Ostapenko and a second for Halep, that may be the difference between the two. Ostapenko has a big game but she will understandably be nervous when she faces Halep who is much more experienced at this level. I expect the Romanian to use her court coverage and speed to frustrate her opponent and lift the trophy. Halep in 2