Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

Romania's Halep wins French Open, achieves her Grand Slam 'dream'

Sharapova and Muguruza Sharapova and Muguruza have won seven Grand Slam titles between them
Cassandra Gardner | 10 June, 2018, 00:25

"It's a dream and it's so special to do it here in Paris", she said.

Barely an hour in, with Stephens up a set and 2-0 in the second, Halep felt a brief downbeat of resignation: "I said, 'It's not going to happen again, but it's OK. I think he showed that at the start of the match Rafa was very nervous and you have to keep his head under the water, and that's what DelPo couldn't do today", said Mouratoglou.

After Saturday, Halep joined Martina Navratilova (1978 Wimbledon) and Jelena Ostapenko (2017 French Open) as the only women in the Open era to win their first major title after coming from a set down to win in the title match.

Take a look at some of the best tweets after Halep's hard-earned victory.

Halep asserted her supremacy in the third set, almost handing Stephens a bagel and giving herself a sizable cushion for any late nerves. She had played two finals in Paris before, losing to Russian Maria Sharapova in 2014 and then to Latvian Jelena Ostapenko in heartbreaking fashion past year. "I just want to enjoy this moment".

Halep, now with momentum on her side, continued to push forward and broke Stephens' serve in the very first game of the third set.

"This is not the trophy I wanted but it's still handsome", Stevens said after collecting the silverware as the runner-up. Halep ended the match when Stephens returned a serve into the net. Halep scored a 3-6 6-4 6-1 victory over American Sloane Stephens in the French Open final on Saturday.

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But Stephens has had a steely determination about her since fighting back from injury and a ranking of 957 less than a year ago, and will have nothing to lose.

A tense first game of the second set saw Stephens squander three break points before eventually claiming an advantage she quickly consolidated into a 2-0 lead.

Stephens picked up from where she left off in the second by breaking in a fantastic opening game. Halep turned around and raised her arms, looking relieved as much as pleased. Stephens, however, hit just a couple of forced errors, testifying her solid grip in the rallies and consequently in the match. "I wish in the future to play more finals here, because it's a really lovely tournament and it is my favourite one". When I was down a break in the second set I said: 'OK, everything is gone. Halep has won four straight meetings against Stephens, all in straight sets.

Stephens, wearing a medical boot after her surgery, worked for the TV station for several weeks while out injured, and Carillo spent a lot of time with her.

Nearly exactly 12 months ago, Simona Halep was on the brink of her first major title.

As Halep scurried to chase a shot that turned into a drop shot for Stephens and won the point for 4-0, her coach Darren Cahill leaped out of his chair and pumped his fist.

She pummeled a serve on match point and raised her arms in joy before going into the stands to embrace hugs with her entourage.

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