Sunday, 24 June, 2018

Simona Halep speaks out after winning the French Open

Halep vs Kerber Halep takes on Kerber for the 10th time in her career Credit Reuters
Betsy Taylor | 10 June, 2018, 10:12

Simona Halep needs no reminding of her record in major finals: 0-3.

"Congratulations to Simona. There is no-one else I'd rather lose to than the number one in the world", Stephens, who will rise to four in the rankings, said.

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

If Stephens holds her high ranking and can make her way to more Grand Slam finals this year and beyond, this sort of loss could prove beneficial to her long-term outlook.

"I believed and I never gave up".

When the French Open final was played a year ago, Sloane Stephens was nowhere near Roland Garros.

She couldn't capitalise on it though as Halep found another break to take the set and force a decider.

That determination when things aren't going her way has served Stephens well again at Roland Garros - she arrived in Paris after a poor clay-court season that had yet to yield a quarter-final. Halep tends to fall apart in Grand Slam finals, so it will be interesting to see if she can get over the hurdle.

One can only imagine what was going through Halep's mind serving at 5-1 but an ace steadied her nerves before she claimed her first Grand Slam at the 32nd attempt.

"It's a great story and just a great moment for her". She was the clear favourite past year as well to beat Ostapenko and (somehow) managed to find a way to lose.


While Stephens temporarily halted her slide, getting to 4-all, Halep used two consecutive powerful forehand winners to hold in the next game.

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

In womens' play, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys were to play for a spot in the French Open final.

Following her French Open defeat to Simona Halep, Sloane Stephens gave the media a reminder of her achievements in Paris. It's the first semifinal between a pair of American women at Roland Garros since Serena Williams beat Jennifer Capriati on her way to the 2002 title. "So to be here from there, I think, is rewarding, because those times were not easy".

"Thanks guys it was fantastic and I felt your support", Halep, who lost this year's Australian Open final to Caroline Wozniakci, said on court.

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.

Halep's road to her first major was extraordinarily hard, but likewise, this French Open crown represents more of a beginning than an end.

Winning Grand Slams is paramount to that.

From 4-all in the second, Halep grabbed seven games in a row to take that set and build a 5-0 edge in third.

But Halep wasted the chance with her 10th unforced error and Stephens made her pay, drilling an unreturnable backhand into the corner to wrap up the set after just 41 minutes.

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