Halep shrugs off Stephens challenge to win French Open title

Tyler Owen
June 10, 2018

When is the Simona Halep v/s Sloane Stephens French Open Women's singles final match?

Halep's win led to an outpouring of joy from the tennis world, and her peers and legends took to Twitter to congratulate the newly-crowned Grand Slam champion, as well as heap praise on runner-up Stephens.

Stephens, who won her maiden Slam title in NY past year, defeated fellow American and close friend Madison Keys 6-4, 6-4 having previously never got beyond the quarter-finals in Paris.

Halep was my pick to win the French Open before the tournament, even though I picked against her in the Muguruza match. "I believe that I have the game to win the match".

Halep drew on the memories of her unpleasant experiences in a 2014 French Open final defeat to Maria Sharapova, a showdown with Jelena Ostapenko previous year and her Australian Open loss to Caroline Woznacki in January to pull herself off the ropes.

In Australia in January she ran out of gas on a steamy Melbourne night against Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki but after a relatively comfortable passage through the Paris draw, she will be firing on all cylinders this time.

However, the world number one settled as the set wore on but, despite her improved level, was unable to force a break back, allowing the American to take the first set in 42 minutes.

Stephens indicated to Halep she should raise it proudly overhead.

"Tennis is very situational", Stephens said past year.

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"It's very emotional. I've been waiting for this moment since I was 14", she told the crowd after lifting the trophy up in the air, then kissing it. In the last game I felt like I could not breathe anymore.

Halep turned the screws in the decider to grab a break and then another to lead 4-0 - another explosion of noise greeting a sensational point in which Halep chased a drop shot down and was then equal to Stephens' attempted lob with a backhand smash.

The match Saturday is the 26-year-old Halep's fourth major final.

Stephens defeated Keys in straight sets when she won the US Open last September. "Simona has had three crushing losses in the finals, she is still searching for the elusive Grand Sam title".

In her third French Open final, after 2014 and 2017, 2018 finally brought the crown in the jewel for the nippy Romanian world No.1. It's my favorite Grand Slam. In her first major tournament back, she would lose in the first round at Wimbledon.

"I think now I've matured a little bit and have recognised the opportunities when they have been presented".

"She was very strong on court and when I was down a break in the second set I said, "Okay, everything is gone, I have just start [sic] to relax and to enjoy the match ... and I came back".

Nadal has a 49-0 record in the past two years against opponents other than Thiem when competing on clay.

Simona Halep appears to be the clear favourite to win this match, which probably means she won't win it.

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