10 Things: Sharapova Vs Halep
Published June 06, 2014 12:15
PARIS, France - When the Top 3 seeds went out in the first three rounds, all eyes were on these two to make the final - and they've done it. Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep are the last two standing at the French Open, and if their last meeting in the final of the Mutua Madrid Open last month is anything to go by, we're in for a great one - watch highlights from that final in the above video player.
And as an appetizer, here are 10 Things To Know about Sharapova Vs Halep...
1) Sharapova did something she had never done before in the semifinals.
After getting outplayed in the first set, Maria Sharapova clawed back to beat Eugenie Bouchard in the first semifinal, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2. You would think someone with such a full career wouldn't have any new things to achieve, but she's found another one - this is the first time Sharapova has ever come back from a set down to win in three straight matches at a tournament. Read more about the match here.
2) Halep has done something that hasn't been done in almost 16 years.
Simona Halep held off Andrea Petkovic to win the second semifinal, 6-2, 7-6(4), and move through to her first Grand Slam final. She hasn't lost a set all tournament - in fact she is the first player since Lindsay Davenport at the 1998 US Open to reach her first Grand Slam final without dropping a set (and Davenport went on to win that final in straight sets). Read more about the match here.
3) Sharapova is back up to No.6 now, and No.5 if she wins the title.
Sharapova, who is currently No.8, will rise to No.6 as a runner-up and No.5 as the champion. If that still sounds a little low, don't worry - she has only one match win to defend the rest of the year (last year from this point she lost in the French Open final, fell second round at Wimbledon and lost her opening match in Cincy - and then didn't play the entire rest of the year because of a shoulder injury).
4) Halep will be No.3 now, win or lose.
In March, Halep became the highest-ranked Romanian in WTA history when she rose from No.7 to No.5 after Indian Wells (separating herself from previous record-holder Irina Spirlea). She moved to No.4 after Rome and now she's going to raise her to No.3. She was No.57 a year ago.
5) Whoever wins Saturday's final will be No.1 on the Road To Singapore leaderboard.
If Sharapova wins the final, she will be No.1 and Halep No.3 - if Halep wins the final, she will be No.1 and Sharapova No.2. Either way, these two will take a big step closer to the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, where the best of the best compete for year-end glory...
6) Sharapova could also become the No.2 all-time prize money leader.
If she wins the title, Sharapova will go from No.3 to No.2 on the all-time prize money list, switching spots with Venus Williams. Who's No.1 on the list? You'll have to go to it to find out...
7) Sharapova has a lot more experience in Grand Slam finals - but will it matter?
This will be Sharapova's ninth Grand Slam final. She has four titles - Wimbledon in 2004, the US Open in 2006, the Australian Open in 2008 and the French Open in 2012. She also has four runner-up finishes - the Australian Open in 2007 (to Serena Williams), Wimbledon in 2011 (to Petra Kvitova), the Australian Open in 2012 (to Victoria Azarenka) and the French Open in 2013 (to Serena Williams).
8) Sharapova would be the 12th player in the Open Era to win five Grand Slam titles.
Eleven players have won five or more Grand Slams in the Open Era - Steffi Graf (22), Chris Evert (18), Martina Navratilova (18), Serena Williams (17), Margaret Court (11), Monica Seles (9), Billie Jean King (8), Evonne Goolagong Cawley (7), Venus Williams (7), Justine Henin (7) and Martina Hingis (5).
9) Only one player born in the 1990s - male or female - has won a Grand Slam title.
That player is Petra Kvitova, who won Wimbledon in 2011 at age 21. She was born in 1990. Halep would become the second born in the 1990s - and first 1991 or later - to win a Grand Slam title.
10) Sharapova has never lost to Halep.
Sharapova has beaten Halep in all three of their previous meetings. She won their first two meetings in 2012, both in straight sets, though Halep was nowhere near the level she's at now - in their only meeting since then, in the Madrid final last month, Sharapova rallied from a set down to prevail.
Watch highlights from that Madrid final above, and click here for more on their head-to-head.