Who's going to win the French Open final? Two wtatennis.com contributors - Ravi Ubha and Chris Oddo - go head to head on the eve of Serena Williams and Lucie Safarova's championship clash.
WTA Staff

Why Lucie Safarova Will Win Roland Garros (by Chris Oddo)

Since the Open Era began, Roland Garros has been ground zero for more maiden Grand Slam winners than any other major. Think Francesca Schiavone, Anastasia Myskina and Li Na ? and those are only the more recent names. Now it's Lucie Safarova's turn. Why? Because the 28-year-old Czech has been the best player in the tournament thus far. She has won all 12 sets she's played, and whenever she's faced immense pressure she's come through with flying colors, winning all five tie-breakers she's contested.

But it's not just what Safarova has done, it's who she has done it against. She's won two matches against Top 10 opposition at a major for the first time, knocking off defending and two-time champ Maria Sharapova in the round of 16 and former champion Ana Ivanovic in the semis.

Add to that the fact that Serena Williams has shown cracks in her armor all fortnight long. She's had to win four matches after dropping the first set and after her victory on Thursday over Timea Bacsinszky, she revealed that she's had the flu since week one and has not been able to get rid of it. Having logged nearly 10 hours of court time, will Serena have the energy to contend with Safarova's bristling form?

Believe it or not the odds are stacked against Serena in some ways: The terre battue has never been kind to top seeds ? only two have managed to win the title in the last 18 years, and only one player (Jennifer Capriati) has managed to win the first two majors of a calendar year since 1993.

Winning Roland Garros has always been difficult for Serena Williams to achieve when she's healthy. With the 19-time major champion suffering from the flu, Safarova will keep her scintillating form going and shock the world on Saturday in Paris.


Why Serena Williams Will Win Roland Garros (by Ravi Ubha)

First off, congratulations to Lucie Safarova. For so long a consistent Top 40 performer, Safarova has made huge strides in the last year. The higher one progresses in the rankings, the harder it is to keep climbing, so cracking the Top 10 is a fine achievement for the universally liked Czech.

But this is Serena Williams we're talking about, arguably the greatest player of all time. If being sick and facing an opponent in the best form of her life didn't stop her Thursday in the semifinals, nothing will - at least not during this year's tournament.

Yes, the illness is a worry. There's no getting around that. Williams, though, has a day and a half to get better and given how she looked on court against Timea Bacsinszky, she probably can't deteriorate - assuming her condition was nothing worse than a cold or flu.

Williams is 19-4 in Grand Slam finals and has claimed her last six. Her record against Safarova is an unblemished 8-0, dropping six games combined in their two clay court matches.

Indeed Safarova is a different player, more confident and accomplished. But when push comes to shove, as Williams showed against Anna-Lena Friedsam, Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens and Bacsinszky, her will - and aura - make the World No.1 extremely difficult to put away.

Belief is such an important intangible for a player to have when trying to topple Williams and I'm not sure Safarova, notwithstanding her current level, possesses enough of it to engineer what would be a massive upset.

And need we remind you this is Safarova's first Grand Slam final? She's bound to be the more nervous of the two.

Long may Safarova's rise continue. But Williams must be leaving Paris with a 20th Grand Slam title in tow, n'est-ce pas?