Halep: It's tough to know what to expect

Simona Halep (Getty)
Simona Halep (Getty)

Cape Town - Simona Halep admits her Roland Garros final opponent Jelena Ostapenko is a bit of an unknown factor.

Halep and Ostapenko will square off in the women's singles final on Saturday, and for Halep - who has found herself in this position before - the object is to remain as cool and calm as possible in the face of any potential surprises from this year's biggest surprise package.

Halep first reached the Paris final back in 2014, although she lost to Maria Sharapova on that occasion. She would dearly love to go one better, and knows the title is there for the taking against Ostapenko, an unseeded 20-year-old playing in her first Grand Slam final.

That youth and inexperience could count against Ostapenko if she gets overawed by the occasion, but it could also count in her favour if she adopts a fearless attitude.

"Of course, it's going to be a great thing if I can win tomorrow, but I would like not to think too much, as it will put more pressure," said Halep.

"It's tough to know what to expect against Ostapenko. She's hitting balls very strong. 

"But I will focus more on myself. I'm not focusing on her too much. I just want to do my game, be focused and move well."

"I know that she can play her best tennis. She has nothing to lose. I'm going there and I will be ready," she added.

A win on Saturday would be huge for Halep. Not only would it be her first Grand Slam title, but it would also take her to the top of the world rankings for the first time in her career.

Meanwhile, the unpredictable Ostapenko is on an unbelievable run herself. As the first Latvian to reach a Grand Slam final, her performance has already seen her receive a phone call from the Latvian president.

"That means a lot already," she said.

"I'm already in the final. Simona is a great player. In the match against her, I need to stay aggressive and to play my game. It's going to be a tough match and I have to be ready for it."

In a sense, Ostapenko has nothing to lose, having already done her people proud, while Romanian fans will be expecting their golden girl to finally deliver. The pressure is undoubtedly on Halep.

"I always say that I play well with the pressure, but now I don't need it," she added.

"I just take it like a big day, a big match. Definitely I'm ready for it."

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