Published: Sun, June 10, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Simona Halep beats Sloane Stephens for French Open title

Simona Halep beats Sloane Stephens for French Open title

Stephens goes after her second Grand Slam women's title in nine months at Roland Garros, where she'll face top-ranked Simona Halep of Romania in the French Open championship match.

That heartbreak, though, has been replaced by joy. Not the trophy I wanted, but it's still lovely so thank you, guys. I believed in that, and my game was more relaxed. Like past year, I feel Halep will make an excellent start to the match but when it gets tight, she might just falter. "And the fact that I could be number one in the world past year gave me confidence and gave me a little bit of relief, because I touched something big, something huge, and I just had in my mind to win a Grand Slam after that".

She pummeled a serve on match point and raised her arms in joy before going into the stands to embrace hugs with her entourage.

6-0: Stephens career record in tournament title matches.

"For me staying calm is the most important thing", added Stephens, who called herself a "real fighter" after the US Open.

"I obviously feel very sad for her, but at the same time I'm very happy for myself", Wozniacki said after the final in Australia. It's a attractive thing, very special.

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"And then when I started to win games, I said that a year ago happened to me - same thing, I was set and a break up and I lost the match".

Halep asserted her supremacy in the third set, almost handing Stephens a bagel and giving herself a sizable cushion for any late nerves.

Having come close in Australia and been unfortunate to lose to Caroline Wozniacki she was a popular victor, having avoided what would have been a crushing defeat.

"She [Stephens] is a great player and it's always tough to play against her", she said. "Thank you to my family and friends, my brother of course, the Romanian people and the French people too for their fantastic support".

In what was a closely fought first two sets, the third was like a procession as Halep's determination shifted the balance completely to her side.

She won the U.S. Open last September for her first major title. "In the second set, I started to relax and came back".

Romanian star Simona Halep reaches Roland Garros final for the third time
Sloane Stephens has dropped one set, in the third round to Camila Giorgi - who served for the match twice, but fell 4-6, 6-1, 8-6. Muguruza isn't giving he opponent many chances to breathe, and that's the reason for her quick success in these recent matches.

A composed looking Stephens was indeed the first to break through, gaining a 3-1 advantage.

Already the 2008 Roland Garros girls' singles champion, Halep became the sixth player to have won the women's singles title in Paris after winning the girls' singles title. Once the second set was over, it was a dominating performance by Halep, who barely allowed Stephens to overcome the loss of the second set.

However, even after she fell behind by a break in the second set, it did not appear that any doubt had crept into her mind.

Muguruza, a two-time major champion who was coming off a lopsided victory against Sharapova, took quite a while to get going against Halep, who managed to keep sending ball after ball back over the net.

At 2-1 down, Halep broke Stephens at love, and then held at love to move 3-2 up. Serving at 4-4, 30-30, Halep was still on the edge, however.

Halep managed to save three break points, including one with a powerful forehand victor down the line, but the Romanian dropped her serve on Stephens' next chance when she could not properly return a clever lob from her American rival.

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Stephens started the game aggressively but Halep was able to hold her own to start with.

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