The women’s French Open final went to Simona Halep, the top-ranked player in the world, who won her first Grand Slam by rallying and overwhelming Sloane Stephens.
However, her sights now turn to the final where she is desperate to erase the memories of last year’s horror show where she surrendered a set and a 3-0 lead to lose to Jelena Ostapenko.
Halep has come up short in two French Open finals in 2014 and 2016 as well as at this year’s Australian Open.
That heartbreak, though, has been replaced by joy.
“Thanks guys it was incredible and I felt your support”, Halep, twice a runner-up in Paris before Saturday, told the crowd.
“In the last game I felt like I could not breathe anymore”, said Halep. I just tried to not repeat what happened previous year.
“I wish in the future to play more finals here, because it’s a really attractive tournament and it is my favorite one”. “Just going to take it in (my) stride and just enjoy it and go out and compete”.
Halep won 15 of the next 18 points on Saturday, and then 12 of the next 15 games with both strength and steadiness, and she did it against a big-point player who stood 6-0 in WTA Tour finals previously.
“I think she’s had a tough journey”, Stephens, who will rise to a career-high world No. 4 next week, said later.
“I obviously feel very sad for her, but at the same time I’m very happy for myself”, Wozniacki said after the final in Australia. It’s a attractive thing, very special.
“When I started to win games, I said that a year ago the same thing happened to me”, she said.
On Saturday, Sloane Stephens and Simona Halep will compete for the women’s title.
We are at the ultimate match of this year’s French Open. If Halep manages to beat Stephens, it will be her maiden Grand Slam.
“It’s great that I’m No. 4, but, I mean, the rankings are what they are, and I hope to stay, improve, get better”. Stephens slowed down and Halep turned up the heat with an intensity that led to her first Grand Slam title.
The resilience and sheer determination showcased by Simona Halep will be inspire quite a few. “There’s not as much, “Come ons” and things like that”. He will face another Argentine, Juan Martin del Potro, for a place in the final after the fifth seed downed Marin Cilic 7-6 (7/5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5.
The 10th seed was by far the more composed of the two players, with Halep playing the aggressor but unable to breach her defence.
But she was beaten by Stephens’ brilliance, not herself, in the opening set.
“It’s not the trophy I wanted but it is still lovely”, Stephens said. Instead she could listen to the crowd chanting her name as she ran away with it.
Halep, however, surrendered the advantage and it went to 4-4.
Backed by plenty of noisy Romanian support, Halep broke again for 4-0 after an astonishing point in which she wore Stephens down with her relentless returning.
But Halep, stung into action, levelled up in the fourth game, breaking Stephens to love as the first chinks in the American’s armour appeared.
The match flipped definitively when Halep won nine consecutive points in the second set.
The job was nearly done and it became official when Halep crushed a serve on match point that drew an error.
Simona Halep was close to tears on Saturday after ending a long wait for herself and an even longer one for Romania by winning the French Open. Nadal was pushed for three hours and 42 minutes by the 11th seed before clinching a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory.