French Open 2017 Ladies' Singles Final Preview: Pretenders vie for Paris throne

A new champion will be crowned in the French capital on Saturday, as Jelena Ostapenko and Simona Halep meet in the final of Women's singles at the French Open at Roland Garros.

Following defending champion Garbine Muguruza's last 16 defeat to home favourite Kristina Mladenovic, there is guaranteed to be a 26th name on the famous Coupe Suzanne Lenglen trophy in Paris this weekend. Not only that, but an inaugural champion will also be crowned. 

New champion in waiting

In one corner stands former finalist at Roland Garros of three years ago, when Romanian, Halep lost to Maria Sharapova in three tight sets, 4-6, 7-6, 4-6.

In her second grand slam final, the world number four and third seed will be favourite to lift her first major title, but will be wary of her opponent's ferocious backhand across the net.

Ostapenko, who celebrated her 20th birthday only on Thursday, has not gone past the third round of a slam in her short three-year career before - let alone compete in a final.

Latvian waiting to pounce

The Latvian has taken the tennis world by storm during the last fortnight, claiming the scalps of seeded trio Sam Stosur (23), Caroline Wozniacki (11) and Timea Bacsinszky (30) en route to the final.

Her Romanian opponent since a sterling 2014 - reaching the final of not only the French, but quarter-finals and semi-finals of the Australian and US Open respectively - has made the last eight in grand slams on just two other occasions since then.

As former number two in the world to only the absent Serena Williams at the time, Halep is the overwhelming favourite to lift her first slam on the clay of Paris, having dispatched second seed Karolina Pliskova in Thursday's semi-final.

Pivotal first meeting

In what will be the first meeting between the two Europeans, the stakes are high. With the ranks of the female game up in the air with controversy and inconsistencies abound, both Ostapenko and Halep are presented with a golden opportunity on Philippe Chatrier come Saturday.

Whilst the Latvian is five years Halep's junior, the Romanian has dropped just two sets in progressing to the final. Could Simona Halep's experience on the big stage prove pivotal this weekend?

Both ladies are reliant on their power games, but whilst Simona Halep is more the force on the front-foot forehand, Jelena Ostapenko will look to her booming backhand and defence game, to hold off her opponent.

A new name will be etched on world of grand slam tennis this weekend; the questions is, will youth or experience win out?

VAVEL Logo