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Saturday, 10 June 2017

French Open Tennis Day 14 Picks 2017- Women's Final (June 10th)

French Open Women's Final 2017
Jelena Ostapenko vs Simon Halep
The second women's Grand Slam title of the season is going to be decided on Saturday afternoon as the pre-tournament favourite takes on the unseeded youngster who has set the last two weeks alight.

Both players have had some rough moments to overcome during the tournament but this looks like it could be a really good Final as long as both Jelena Ostapenko and Simona Halep can control what will be obvious nerves.

Onto the pick.

Simona Halep - 4.5 games v Jelena Ostapenko: It may come as a surprise that I am jumping off the Jelena Ostapenko bandwagon having backed her to win her Quarter Final as the underdog and then with the games in the Semi Final. The young Latvian has been magnificent in both of those matches and that is not taking into account the way she dismantled Sam Stosur in the Fourth Round having dropped the first set 2-6.

A big hitting game has not shown many signs of nerves or tension as Ostapenko has worked her way from a set down three times already this tournament, while holding herself together in a third set in the Semi Final despite dropping the second. There is a feeling of an 'all or nothing' approach from Ostapenko which has produced some fantastic winners, but also will mean she will make mistakes at times.

The last couple of Rounds has also seen Ostapenko take on two players in Caroline Wozniacki and Timea Bacsinszky who would not have had the firepower to worry the young player. That is not exactly the case in the Final with the way Simona Halep is able to turn defensive positions into offensive ones and the potential new World Number 1 has plenty of power off both wings herself.

Halep doesn't hit the ball as hard as Ostapenko does, but she is very accurate with her groundstrokes and there is penetration off those shots too. She has held herself together in the face of the onslaught provided by both Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova in the last two Rounds so facing Ostapenko is not going to be something that will surprise Halep.

The defensive work done by Halep cannot be underrated and Pliskova admitted that she would have beaten 99% of players on the Tour with her performance in the Semi Final. There were so many rallies where Halep retrieved the ball and forced Pliskova to hit another and I think that is going to extract errors from the Ostapenko game.

Another factor is that Ostapenko does not serve as well as Svitolina and especially not as well as Pliskova which is going to give Halep the chance for the first strike in the return games. Halep will have to accept that some of her own service games will also see Ostapenko crack a few winners off the return and that she is likely to see her serve broken, but there has been more of a steadiness about her that I can see making the difference in this Final.

Ostapenko has won 57%, 57% and 49% of the points behind serve in her last three matches which means she has been put under pressure on her return games to keep up with opponents. She has played well on the return having won 45%, 51% and then 52% of her return points, but Halep has been looking after her serve effectively enough to give her the edge having won 58% of points behind serve throughout the tournament.

However Halep has also backed that up with some impressive returning numbers and I think that will be the edge in the match.

You can't rule out Ostapenko throwing caution to the wind and having a 'once in a lifetime' day and being able to hit winner after winner. We have seen Halep collapse under pressure before, but the comeback against Svitolina in the Quarter Final might have been that moment and she has come through it.

I do think there will be moments where the momentum is behind Ostapenko, but I will expect Halep to wear her down over two sets and use her defensive work to extract a few more errors from the promising youngster. There looks to be enough of an edge when it comes to the Halep serve and return game to think she will be too strong for Ostapenko and I think it will result in a 7-5, 6-3 win for the Romanian who will finally have a Grand Slam title to her name.

MY PICKS: Simona Halep - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

French Open Update: 58-39, + 32.64 Units (192 Units Staked, + 17% Yield)

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