Halep set to break Grand Slam duck
Halep set to break Grand Slam duck

Simona Halep takes on Jelena Ostapenko in Saturday’s French Open final and will surely have too much for the youngster.

In the absence of the pregnant Serena Williams, Halep began this year’s tournament as favourite and has lived up to her billing.

The Romanian did not drop a set until the quarter-finals and had surrendered only 19 games before facing Elina Svitolina in the last eight.

She was pushed to three sets on that occasion, showing her dominance by taking the final set without dropping a game.

Karolina Pliskova proved a tougher nut to crack in the semis but, once again, when the going got tricky, the 25-year-old was able to find a way to win.

She has yet to claim a Grand Slam but did make it to the Roland Garros final in 2014. She also has semi-final appearances under her belt at Wimbledon and the US Open, and is on offer at n/a to win on Saturday.

All that experience should stand her in good stead against a relativity unknown opponent in Ostapenko.

There is no question the 20-year-old will enter the contest with little or no fear as she has already exceeded expectations - and that might be the one thing that gives her a chance.

The Latvian has, in boxing parlance, a puncher’s chance and can be backed at n/a to secure the Paris showpiece.

Ostapenko has needed three sets in four of her matches to date and has already downed experienced players Samantha Stosur, Caroline Wozniacki and Timea Bacsinszky.

She is an exciting talent, hitting more winners (245) than any other player in the tournament, but has also committed 217 unforced errors.

The Riga-born starlet appears confident in her own ability to fight back even if her level drops during a match.

“It's like I cannot play the whole match, like, amazing,” she said. “Sometimes it's up and down, but I still try to fight and play my game. And if I do that, I will get back my game and then it can help me to win.”

The duo have yet to meet in the professional ranks and so there is no previous form to go on, but Halep has made no secret of the fact she is desperate to win.

The world number four will never have a better chance of claiming one of the big four events although it would be no surprise if she was taken to three sets by her young opponent.

But, as we have already seen in the tournament, it will not faze her and it is going to take a monumental effort from Ostapenko to prevent Halep from lifting the trophy in the French capital.

Recommended bet: Halep to win at n/a

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