Halep beats Stephens to win Roland Garros title

Simona Halep fought back from a set and a break down to finally achieve her "dream" of winning a Grand Slam title, beating Sloane Stephens 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in a gruelling French Open final on Saturday.

Another player supremely loved and respected on tour, Petra Kvitova, congratulated Halep on joining the Grand Slam club. It looks good on you.

Stephens had told of "no one else in the world I'd rather lose to".

"Not the trophy I wanted but it's still handsome", Stephens said afterward, then pointed her words to Halep and said, "no one else I'd rather lose to than No. 1 in the world".

"After not playing for 11 months, I've had some great results", she said.

Halep, the runner-up in 2014 and 2017, enjoyed a 6-1, 6-4 victory over 2016 champion and third seed Garbine Muguruza of Spain.

"I just tried not to repeat the same as past year", Halep said.

"I think it was the most important game of the match", said Halep. The most recent match was in the 2017 Cincinnati Masters, a match Halep won in straight sets.

Top seed Simona Halep of Romania was crowned Roland Garros champion when she defeated tenth-seeded Sloane Stephens of America in three-sets on Saturday in Paris.

Despite falling to the Romanian in Paris, Andrea Petkovic couldn't have been happier for Halep.

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Stephens, the highest-ranked American (No. 4 in the world) in women's tennis not named "Williams" since Lindsay Davenport was top-five a dozen years ago, got roped out of her comfort zone and was helpless to push back against Halep. "I have just to play", the world number one said. She won more points while Halep made more unforced errors.

Halep, who assured herself of retaining the No. 1 ranking with the victory, earned a fourth chance to win her first major title.

A hold and a break later and Halep was ahead for the first time in the match, with Stephens' error count rising and rising.

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

"I see guys up there with the Romanian flag", she said. She persevered through a battle to hold serve and go up 5-4.

Sharapova was hardly at her best right from the start, double-faulting three times to get broken in the opening game.

She'd gone 0-3 in matches with a major trophy on the line before facing Sloane Stephens for the French Open title today, so there was plenty to remember: what it felt like to give a lead away, to make a key mistake, to walk away with regrets. She capped off the fourth game with a wonderful victor at the net.

Given a standing ovation by the Court Philippe Chatrier crowd, a tearful Halep climbed into the stand behind the baseline to celebrate with her family and coaching team. A forehand into the net there.

Halep survived a pressurised service game and then turned the screw, eking out a break point from which Stephens planted wide to force a deciding set.

Nearly exactly 12 months ago, Simona Halep was on the brink of her first major title. If Halep was able to handle the cross shots of Muguruza and Kerber, she should have the ability to control this match as well.


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