Kristina Mladenovic (FRA #17) vs  Simona Halep (ROU #8)
Head to head: Mladenovic leads 3-1
1. Halep’s best tennis comes out in Madrid.
Halep already made Mutua Madrid Open history when she became the first woman to advance to three finals here, finishing runner up on 2014 and taking home the title last year. She’s now bidding to become the second player to win back-to-back titles (after Serena in 2012-2013).
2. They’ve never played on clay.
While the pair’s head-to-head record looks skewed in Mladenovic’s favor, the pair have yet to play on clay, Halep’s best surface. Mladenovic has scored three victories over Halep, one on grass and two on hardcourts – including a victory at Indian Wells earlier in the season – while the Romanian’s lone win came back in 2015 in Cincinnati.
3. The Romanian has an impressive winning record on this surface.
Halep’s record on clay underscores just how good she is on the surface; she has now won 21 of her last 24 matches on clay to date. Her most recent loss came in 2017 Stuttgart, falling to eventual champion Laura Siegemund in the semifinals.
4. Mladenovic is in uncharted territory.
While Halep has plenty of experience on the big stage in Madrid and elsewhere, the Frenchwoman is playing in her first Premier Mandatory final, and looking to take home the biggest title of her career.
5. Both players have their eye on Singapore.
Besides claiming what would be the biggest title of her career, if Mladenovic wins Madrid she’ll vault up to No.1 on the Porsche Race to Singapore standings. She’ll sit at No.4 should she finish runner up, and a win for Halep would put the Romanian at No.8 on the Race.
6. A win for Mladenovic is a win for French tennis.
Should Mladenovic win today, she’ll be the second Frenchwoman to win a title at this level since Aravane Rezai triumphed here in Madrid in 2010. Also, she’ll be the first Frenchwoman to rank inside the WTA’s Top 15 since Marion Bartoli in December 2013.
7. Fresh and rested or battle-tested?
Mladenovic and Halep come into the final with plenty of tennis under their belts, but it might come down to who has the fresher legs. Mladenovic has spent more time on court compared to Halep (7 hours and 41 minutes against Halep’s 6 hours and 55 minutes)...
8. Halep pulling double duty.
… But Halep has spent more time on court overall. Along with partner Irina-Camelia Begu, Halep reached the doubles semifinals in Madrid and they were eliminated just last night by Timea Babos and Andrea Hlavackova. By contrast, Mladenovic and her partner Svetlana Kuznetsova fell in the first round.
9. Mladenovic looking to keep the streak going.
Madrid marks Mladenovic’s fourth final of 2017 – she won the title at the St Petersburg Ladies Open and finished runner up at Acapulco and Stuttgart. She’s also scored 27 match wins to date in 2017, the joint-most on tour along with Caroline Wozniacki. For comparison, in 2016 Mladenovic didn’t reach 27 wins until October.
10. Here’s where you can tune in to watch the final.
Simona Halep takes on Kristina Mladenovic today at 19:00 CEST (13:00 EST) in the final of the Mutua Madrid Open. Click here to find your local broadcaster and check the listings.