Halep and Nadal are favorites headed into US Open
In what turned out to be one of the most memorable matches of the year, the top two women’s favorites to win the US Open played it out today in the Rogers Cup final. The matchup gave us a sneak preview of their form, and who has the upper hand. Both players had a terrible Wimbledon after reaching the French Open Final. Stephens lost to a rising Donna Vekic in the first round, while Halep lost to 32-year-old, and world 42 Hsieh Su-Wei in the third round. However, they seem to be back at home in the North American hard courts.
Simona Halep came out strong and broke in the third game and fifth game of the match. However, Stephens came storming back to even the set at 4-4. Ultimately, Halep took the first set in a come from behind tie-breaker after an hour and ten minutes worth of grueling rallies which exhausted me just watching from my couch.
Both women looked tired going into the second set, and my money was on Halep. Unfortunately for Halep, it was not to be, and she subsequently lost the second set 6-3. The third set started strong for Stephens but ultimately history repeated itself, and like the final between these two at the French Open, Stephens faded quickly in the latter half of the third set, and Halep took advantage winning the championship. Halep is a beast when it comes to fitness, while Stephens has some questions to answer regarding her fitness.
In the Men’s Final Nadal took care of rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6-3,7-6, who beat no less than four ranked players on his way to the final. Although it was a greatly entertaining match, it was an afterthought given the drama and quality that Halep and Stephens provided during the first final.
Cincinnati is next, and I have to believe Halep and Nadal will not be as rested as they would like. We’ll see how they perform.