French Open 2018: Simona Halep vs Sloane Stephens final preview, telecast, live streaming, date, start time and where to watch online
(1) Simona Halep (WR #1) vs (10) Sloane Stephens (WR #13)
Overall Head-to-head: Halep leads 5-2
Head-to-head on clay: Halep leads 2-0
Last meeting: Halep def Stephens 6-2, 6-1 at the 2017 WTA Cincinnati semi-finals
12 months after enduring a heartbreak on Court Philippe-Chatrier, the assiduous Simona Halep is back to doing what she does the best -- try and win a Slam final.
A year ago, she was the overwhelming favourite. She had the experience of being in the Roland Garros final before, having lost the 2014 summit clash in three sets to Maria Sharapova, in one of the best women’s finals ever. On the other side of the net, there was the 20-year-old Jelena Ostapenko, who had never ever lifted any trophy on the WTA Tour.
Halep had all the momentum, with a set and a break advantage and looked to be closing in on her maiden Slam, as expected. That is, until it all went downhill for the usually tenacious Romanian.
What seemed to be heading to glory, turned into despair. Halep had a break lead even in the third set until she found it impossible to cope with the power and relentless aggression from the Latvian, who refused to hit anything but winners.
Halep became more and more defensive and the crowd started inclining more towards the exciting young talent.
It is a memory that she would certainly like to erase. It is laudable to see that the 26-year-old has channelized that setback into staunch determination and a fierce spirit and is again just one match away from grabbing that elusive Major trophy.
In the intervening 12 months, she had been denied another time -- her third overall. Caroline Wozniacki gutted it out at the Australian Open in a marathon final to claim her name on a Slam trophy for the first time.
And thus, Halep is back to trying for it yet again on her most preferred surface and at the Slam where she feels at home.
Having lost three such opportunities, Halep is expected to be doubly eager. However, it still remains a stern test for her. How her nerves respond under pressure this time and how much she has matured in four-and-a-half months after Australia, remains to be seen.
In terms of head-to-head record, it is the Romanian, who has the advantage and should be favoured. At the same time, it is interesting to note that the last time she and Sloane Stephens crossed swords, both of them were still searching for their first title on tennis’s grandest stage.
Since then, the American has gone on to stun the world with her victory at the US Open. Her poise and lack of any emotion were two of the biggest qualities that stood out from her performance that day.
As far as speed is concerned, both Stephens and Halep are at the same level. Of course, Halep has the experience of winning the bigger clay titles. However, Stephens is no slouch on the most demanding surface either. She did triumph on the green clay courts at Charleston in 2016.
Her fiery pace on the court, depth of groundstrokes, intrepid attitude, and her ability to convert defence into attack have been noteworthy. And with these weapons, she can very much dismantle her Romanian opponent, until and unless Halep infuses aggression into her strokes and takes charge early.
Here's all the information you need to know:
Tournament name: French Open 2018
Venue: Stade Roland Garros, Paris
Date: Saday, June 9, 2018
(1) Simona Halep vs (10) Sloane Stephens at 6.30pm IST
Broadcast: Star Sports Select 1, Star Sports Select 1 HD
Livestream: Star Sports Hotstar
Live updates: Sportskeeda