Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Simona Halep beats Sloane Stephens to win first grand slam title

Maria Sharapova and Garbine Muguruza Maria Sharapova and Garbine Muguruza face off for a place in the French Open semi-finals on Wednesday Credit afp
Edward Snyder | 10 June, 2018, 10:16

Sloane Stephens was graceful in defeat after missing out on the French Open title.

Romanian tennis player Simona Halep defeated Sloane Stephens 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to win the 2018 French Open.

Stephens opened the match strong, beating Halep, 6-3, before her game started to deteriorate.

'Congratulations on your first Slam. It looks good on you.

Stephens had told of "no one else in the world I'd rather lose to". I just tried not to repeat the past year [Halep lost the 2017 French Open final].

Simona Halep of Romania celebrates victory following the ladies singles final against Sloane Stephens of The United States during day fourteen of the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2018 in Paris, France. On Saturday, Sloane Stephens and Simona Halep will compete for the women's title. "I'm so happy it happened at Roland Garros and in Paris, my special city", said Halep moments after the win.

Juan Martin del Potro is back in the French Open semifinals for the first time since 2009 and will next face Rafael Nadal, the man with the most appearances at this stage of the clay-court Grand Slam.

Down a set and a break in the second, Halep rose to the challenge and started moving the American around the court to the joy of an openly pro-Halep crowd at the Philippe-Chatrier Court. Stephens looks to win her second title of the year and her seventh title of her career.

After heartbreak in three previous major finals, Halep summoned up her best tennis and all the mental strength she has developed over the past year to finally overcome her biggest hurdle. Moving sluggishly and playing dozily, Muguruza managed a single game in the first set, which she finished with a tally of just two clean winners and 14 unforced errors. Stephens has one grand slam title under her belt, which came in the 2017 US Open.

Out of nowhere, though, Stephens responded with a four-point break of her own to get back to 4-3, and eventually 4-4.




"I was 2-4 down in the second set but I knew I had to fight for every ball, push her back and play the way I did in the first set".

Halep, however, surrendered the advantage and it went to 4-4. As she got tight, Stephens became more passive, suddenly rolling in serves at two-thirds pace. She capped off the fourth game with a wonderful victor at the net.

A huge Halep backhand at 30-30 in the ninth game proved too much for Stephens as Halep crucially held.

When she started her injury comeback at Wimbledon last July with a first-round loss to Alison Riske, even a return to the top 100 seemed a long way off.

German Andrea Petkovic - a former top-10 player now ranked 107th in the world - sent a message to Halep's critics.

Bueno was a dominant player during the late 1950s and 1960s.

"I felt that and I said, "it's not going to happen again, but it is okay". "It's very hard. I think more when I do play Madi". Stephens, on the other hand, showed no signs of nerves in her one Grand Slam final win in NY previous year.

The 26-year old is clearly a popular figure on the women's tour, and a host of names took to social media to congratulate her on her success, including Britain's shining light Johanna Konta. Halep also was the runner-up at the Australian Open this January. And now she wants to win a Grand Slam.

Romanian Halep's best chance came a year ago when she was a set and 3-0 ahead against unseeded Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, only to suffer a heartbreaking defeat.

Halep beat Stephens the last four times they played each other.

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