Friday, 17 August, 2018

Simona Halep Breaks Through, Beating Sloane Stephens for the French Open 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
Shannon Reynolds | 09 June, 2018, 23:12

On Saturday, Halep finally broke through, becoming the first Romanian woman to win the French Open in 40 years.

Like Halep, Stephens is an incredibly talented defensive player, and she kept stretching points Thursday until Keys would err.

"I will try my best", Halep told the crowd at Court Philippe Chatrier, "and hopefully I will be better than past year. I dreamed of this moment since I started to play tennis and I can't believe it", she added.

Muguruza has not dropped a set so far in this year's tournament as she seeks a second championship in Paris and third major trophy overall.

"[Halep] raised her game, raised her level", Stephens told press. Halep then fell to 0-3 with a trophy on the line at the Australian Open in January, beaten by Caroline Wozniacki.

Stevens netted a service return to bow out.

After consoling Stephens, she climbed into the stands to embrace Romania's former Olympic gymnastics champion Nadia Comaneci and 1978 Roland Garros victor Virginia Ruzici, the last Romanian to win a Grand Slam title.

After her third-round win against Julia Goerges, Williams charged at Sharapova's book, questioning why it wasn't truthful - at least to her - and why Sharapova was so obsessed with her as a subject. After such a long wait, it feels like her time. It's just how it's happened for me", Stephens said, "I think once I get going in a tournament, I'm pretty consistent, which is good.

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"I think she's had a tough journey".

ALSO READ: Stephens keeps smiling through pain barrier Halep achieved her win over Muguruza without breaking much sweat but rest assured, she will face a stern test from Stephens. Stephens is 6-0 in career final appearances and one of those victories came on clay court.

Stephens, 25, was bidding for her second Grand Slam title following her success at the US Open in September - a title she claimed just six weeks after she was ranked 957th in the world having had 10 months out with a foot injury. Halep has won four straight meetings against Stephens, all in straight sets. "See-moe-nah!" throughout. When she first walked out on Court Philippe Chatrier.

She then held serve and broke Stephens yet again, taking a 4-0 lead before easily winning her serve.

The American dominated the first set and went a break up in the second before Halep won 11 of the next 14 games to clinch the title.

"Another great opportunity on Saturday, and I'm really looking forward to it", said Stephens, whose late father, John, was the 1988 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year with the New England Patriots.

"It was very nice to play like that", Halep said.

The match flipped definitively when Halep won nine consecutive points in the second set. Halep does not possess the power of Keys, and Stephens has shown she is one of the best movers in the game. To Halep's dismay, she sent a backhand into the net.

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