Difficult to foresee either duo getting to this stage
It’s women’s final day at SW19 and meeting, in what was in reality a very difficult final to predict, are Serena Williams and Simona Halep.
Williams came into this event on the back of numerous retirements and withdrawals and her run to this stage was very difficult to foresee. However, with her data from this year’s tournament now included, she’s running at 120% combined hold/break on grass across the last two years – while she might not be at her peak, she’s still a major player on the women’s tour if she’s fully fit.
As for Halep, she was knocked out in the French Open at the quarter-final stage, and struggled to an extent in her one grass warm-up event, at Eastbourne. She’s obviously done well to make this stage, although it’s probably reasonable to suggest that having faced only one top 30 opponent, the draw opened up nicely for her.
Williams dominates head to head series
It’s also probably fair to think that Halep bears some considerable mental scars against Williams, following a number of drubbings earlier in her career. Williams leads the head to head series 9-1, and has taken their last five meetings, although they were closer than some of the outright thrashings that Halep had to endure in the first half of this decade.
A look at the data from those head to head matches gives insight into why Halep has struggled – she’s holding just 60% compared to Williams’ 80%, which is a pretty huge gap in a head to head series. This has to hold some weight when analysing the match-up.
Previous meetings justifies market prices
In truth, it’s this which makes me think that theabout the veteran American looks about right. Two year grass numbers give Williams a slight edge – particularly on serve – although that advantage wouldn’t be enough in isolation to make Williams this price – the head to head is the kicker.
With such a discrepancy between the duo in head to head meetings, it’s so difficult to make a case for Halep at prices. Having said this, in a tournament where the form book has largely been thrown out of the window, another pretty illogical surprise cannot be ruled out!
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