Simona Halep beats Sloane Stephens to win French Open and first major

Dean Simpson
June 10, 2018

It looks good on you. "No one else I'd rather lose to than the No. 1 in the world so congratulations to you and your team".

Simona Halep has lifted the French Open trophy and says she "just tried not to repeat the same as previous year". Yet Stephens completed a scarcely believable return from injury by winning last year's US Open, becoming only the fifth unseeded woman to win a major singles title in the open era. "I'm so happy it happened at Roland Garros and in Paris, my special city", said Halep moments after the win.

"I said that past year (it) happened to me, same thing, I was set and a break up and I lost the match".

5-2: Halep's advantage in head-to-head matchups, including four straight, most recently in the semifinals of the 2017 Western & Southern Open semifinals, which Halep won 6-2, 6-1. After leveling the match at a set apiece, Halep looked sharper and more energetic in the first couple of games in the third set.

She was rewarded with a break in the second and fourth games to take a 4-0 lead looking totally in charge of proceedings.

The defeat left Halep reeling, and she lost to Sharapova in the first round of last year's US Open. Stephens is one of the best movers on tour, and while Halep has started to become more aggressive, she certainly can't hit many winners against the American and will have to rely on mistakes from her opponent.

Halep then lost serve to love and when Stephens dragged it back to 4-4, it seemed Halep's revival might be over.

Stephens forced Halep to serve it out but, as yet another chorus of "Simona" rang around Court Philippe Chatrier from the vast Romanian contingent, she did just that.

This afternoon she must defy the brilliance and athleticism of American Stephens, who will be competing in her first final at Roland Garros, in order to get her hands on the Suzanne Lenglen cup.

Stephens, who has been serving well throughout the tournament, took the first game with a backhand victor.

Stephens fell to 0-7 against No. 1-ranked players during her career.

From a perilous 30-30 in the next game Halep collected herself and then broke to level the match. She went from winning 77 percent of points on her first serve in the opening set to 43 percent in set two and 44 percent in the decider.

Winner, Simona Halep of Romania (R) and runner up Sloane Stephens of The United States (L) celebrate with their trophies following the ladies singles final during day fourteen of the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2018 in Paris, France. "Simona has had three crushing losses in the finals, she is still searching for the elusive Grand Sam title". When she beat Julia Goerges to advance to the quarters, it was her first quarterfinal appearance at a major tournament since 2013 Wimbledon.

Sloane Stephens celebrates after defeating Venus Williams in their women's singles semifinal at the 2017 US Open on September 7, 2017 in NY.

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