Halep vs Mertens (Approx 09:30pm AEST)
This is the final I was hoping to see unfold this week, with Mertens and Halep both winning their way through to the final of the Prague Open in straight sets.
Things haven’t entirely gone the way of Simona Halep this week. After early scares against Hercog and Krejcikova, who both won opening sets, the Romanian has certainly been able to build her form across the week. Her dominant win over Frech gave her confidence a much-needed boost. Halep is the type of player that does need to build herself into form, and the lack of competitive tennis recently did look to impact her early in the week.
Elise Mertens was able to put her poor showing in Palermo behind her this week, with wins over Paolini, Giorgi, Bouchard and Kristyna Pliskova for the week. You will have noticed over my previews this week for matches involving Mertens that I do have a preference in taking her to win her matches on clay when she faces a player who is a bigger striker of the ball. We won’t see that today, with a completely different match-up for her in Halep. It is worth noting that Paolini has been the player to trouble Mertens most this week.
I tipped Mertens to defeat Halep in their meeting at the Australian Open, however Halep was too good in key moments to win 6-4 6-4. Whilst Mertens has closed the gap on Halep on hardcourt over the last couple of years, I think there is still a significant divide on clay. I am happy to play the -4.5 game handicap at slightly over $2, however I also like Halep 2-0 set betting (and Halep -4 if you can find it) as well if that is available to you.