Mon, Jun 11, 10:43am by Staff Writer
Simona Halep claimed her maiden Grand Slam title on Sunday morning with a come-from-behind win against American world number 10 Sloane Stephens in three sets.
Halep was the pre-tournament favourite to win the French Open, after making last year’s final and losing from a set up against youngster Jelena Ostapenko.
The Romanian world number one breezed through the opening four rounds of the tournament, just dropping a single set.
She faced tougher opposition in the quarter final against former world number one Angelique Kerber, winning in three sets, before a straightforward victory against Garbine Muguruza.
Stephens won the 2017 US Open and is making a name for herself as a player who is not afraid of the big moment.
She is one of only a handful of clutch players on the women’s circuit and despite clay being her least favoured surface, managed to reach the final after only dropping a set.
Her third round encounter with Italy’s Carmila Giorgi was by far her most difficult of the tournament, taking the final set 8-6.
Stephens took the first set against Halep, capitalising on a single break point she was given.
After breaking early in the second set, the $1.40 pre-match favourite Halep was looking incredibly shaky.
She broke back in the fourth game of the second set and never looked back, taking the final two sets 6-4 and 6-1.
It was a mixed tournament for some of the game’s other big names, with Serena Williams progressing to the round of 16 before having to withdraw with a pectoral injury.
World number four Elina Svitolina was highly touted to challenge Halep before the tournament as second seed, but was eliminated in the third round.
The third Grand Slam of the year commences on July 2, with the 132nd edition of the Wimbledon Championships from the All England Club.
2011 and 2014 champion Petra Kvitova and five-time champion Serena Williams are joint favourites to win Wimbledon at $6 at Sportsbet.
2017 winner Garbine Muguruza is $8 to defend her title.
Halep is $13 to win back-to-back Grand Slam titles at $13, with big servers Karolina Pliskova and Maria Sharapova well-priced at $13.
With the grass court season so short, there are excellent opportunities for players to pick up vital experience in the playing conditions in the weeks leading up to the tournament, with America’s Coco Vandeweghe one who has shown promising grass court form in the past.
The only concern with Vandeweghe is her lack of Grand Slam experience in the latter stages of tournaments.
Wimbledon Championship Odds – Sportsbet
Petra Kvitova $6
Serena Williams $6
Garbine Muguruza $8
Angelique Kerber $11
Simona Halep $13
Karolina Pliskova $13
Maria Sharapova $13
Victoria Azarenka $15
Sloane Stephens $17
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