2015 Women’s French Open Championship: #1 Serena Williams vs #13 Lucie Safarova

2015 Women’s French Open
Championship Match
#1 Serena Williams (-295) vs #13 Lucie Safarova (+245)
Odds courtesy of Bookmaker
Philippe-Chatrier Court
Roland Garros – Paris, France
Playing Surface: Red Clay
Saturday, June 6, 2015, 9:00 am Eastern, TV: NBC

Serena Williams looks for her third French Open title and 20th grand slam title overall Saturday against Lucie Safarova.
Serena Williams looks for her third French Open title and 20th grand slam title overall Saturday against Lucie Safarova.

Despite battling a nasty flu since the third round, Serena Williams can win her third French Open title and 20th grand slam title overall with a win in Saturday’s championship match against #13 seed Lucie Safarova. Safarova is playing in her first grand slam final.

Serena is 33 years old and 31-3 this season with titles at the Australian Open and Miami. At the French she beat Andrea Hlavackova in the first round, Anna-Lena Friedsam in the second round, #27 Victoria Azarenka in the third round, Sloane Stephens in the fourth, #17 Sara Errani in the quarters, and #23 Timea Bacsinszky in the semifinals 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 Thursday. Williams also dropped the first set against Friedsam, Azarenka and Stephens. Against Bacsinszky, Serena won the last 10 service games despite being so ill that she threw up and looked to be in serious distress during changeovers. Williams would say after the semifinal that she could barely face a third set and made sure each point was as short as possible using her power game.

Williams had 8 aces and no double faults. Bacsinskzy had 4 and 3. Serena won 78% of her first serves and 47% of her second serves. Bacsinszky was 60% and 39%. Serena won 6/13 net points and Bacsinszky was 5/10. Williams was 5/8 on break points and Bacsinszky was 2/10. Serena had 37 winners to 30 unforced errors, and Bacsinszky had 26 and 24.

Safarova is 28 from the Czech Republic. She is 16-10 this season with a title at Doha. Before this year, she had never made it past the fourth round at Roland Garros. She beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the first round, Kurumi Nara in the second, #20 Sabine Lisicki in the third round, #2 Maria Sharapova in the fourth, #21 Garbine Muguruza in the quarters, and #7 Ana Ivanovic 7-5, 7-5 in the semifinals. Safarova has not lost a set so far at Roland Garros, but has played in five tiebreakers.

Safarova had 7 aces and 8 double faults and Ivanovic had 5 and 4. Safarova was 69% on first serves and 49% on second serves. Ivanovic was 65% and 43% Safarova was 8/9 on net points and Ivanovic was 3/4. Safarova was 4/7 on break points and Ivanovic was 2/10. Safarova had 36 winners and 31 unforced errors and Ivanovic had 25 and 35.

Serena has won all 8 previous meetings against Safarova including 2-0 on clay. They have never met in a grand slam event before. They met twice last year in Montreal and Beijing both on hard courts.

If Serena was healthy, this would likely be a mismatch. It still might be even though Williams was unable to get out of bed on Friday. As it is I will take Serena to win in three sets and claim her 20th grand slam title. That would place her in elite company with Margaret Court and Steffi Graf as the only women with 20 or more grand slam titles.

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