Wednesday, 20 June, 2018

Halep romps, Stephens rolls into final

Halep one step away from first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros - Xinhua | English.news.cn Stephens to play Halep for second Grand Slam title
Domingo Copeland | 10 June, 2018, 10:11

Maybe all of those losses in Grand Slam finals helped Simona Halep actually win one.

Welcome all to coverage of the women's final at Roland Garros where Simona Halep looks to fulfil a career ambition of ending her grand slam drought by overcoming last year's US Open champion Sloane Stephens.

Prior to Saturday, the victor of the first set had won 43 of the past 46 women's major finals. She was determined to make the 2018 French Open championship match against Sloane Stephens a different experience.

"After not playing for 11 months, it's some great results", said Stephens, who also won the Miami Open title earlier this year.

Halep, who was beaten in the 2017 final despite holding a set and 3-0 lead against Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, kept up the momentum in the third set today to open up a 5-0 lead before earning a match point with a raging smash. Stephens started better and led Halep 2-0 but the Romanian managed to win 4 consecutive games and take the lead.

Muguruza settled down in the second set, moving 2-0 ahead before Halep levelled in the eighth game.

During the trophy ceremony, Stephens - more experienced in such matters, given her triumph in NY last September - noticed that Halep was casually holding her new silver trophy. "Then I was very confident that I can finish".

"I just try to go day to day, take it moment by moment", said Stephens, who has a flawless 6-0 record in finals. "I did everything I could". Honestly, I can not believe it. "No matter how hard the adversity that you go through, there is always light at the end of the tunnel, and I'm glad she finally got her light".

The 10th-seeded Stephens had never made it past the fourth round in Paris until now.

Simona Halep has been undoubtedly one of the world's best players since first reaching the French Open final four years ago, but the world No. 1 could equal the unwanted Open-era record of most Grand Slam finals without a title. Sloane was hurting Simona in the first set. It looks good on you. There's no one else I'd rather lose to than the No. 1 in the world'.

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"So I said there is a chance to come back and win it". They might be able to do this for another half-decade if both remain healthy.

"They say the destination is more lovely if there's a bit of a bumpy road and you eventually get there".

At 5-3, Halep had an opportunity of her own to return the favor. "Both of us will be ready to give everything we have", she said.

Halep had suffered plenty of pain in the past, losing three Slam finals prior to her victory on Saturday.

But the 26-year-old is quite the fighter and she finally got over the line, much to her delight.

And when she defeated fellow American Madison Keys, she became the lowest-ranked woman to ever win a U.S. Open title.

"She didn't miss a lot", said Muguruza, who could have claimed the No. 1 ranking had she won the title in Paris.

At this year's Australian Open, she scrapped her way through the draw. "So maybe I will have enough power to win it".

She has paid her dues and then some. "I can only imagine how she must be feeling".

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