Simona Halep beats S. Stephens to claim French Open glory

Tanya Simon
June 9, 2018

After losing her first three major finals, Halep defeated Sloane Stephens, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, on Saturday to win the French Open and join the ranks of top players who persevered before they gained a Grand Slam singles title. Someone has to lose.

The 11th-seeded Schwartzman has never made it to the final four at any Grand Slam tournament. That's why I got angry with someone.

"It's tough to speak now", the 2009 U.S. Open champion said.

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"In the last game, I felt I could not breathe anymore, so I just tried to not repeat the last few years", she said.

Yet at 2-4 down the American dug in and took advantage of a sloppy game from the Romanian to get back to 4-4, finding a more consistent depth of shot once again.

When Sloane Stephens's last service-return bid had struck the net, Halep finally had freed herself of whatever goblins had come and lurked from three prior Grand Slam finals that went both long and melancholy.

It will be the 26-year-old Romanian's fourth appearance in a major final, having also lost to Caroline Wozniacki in Australia in January.

"Hopefully", Halep said, "tomorrow, I will be better than previous ones".

"I'm happy that I can have another chance".

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Top-ranked Simona Halep has leveled at one set-all in her French Open quarterfinal against Angelique Kerber of Germany.

It was the ideal way for the Romanian to banish the demons of her painful final defeat by Jelena Ostapenko 12 months ago, when she blew a lead of a set and 3-0.

It was 5-0 by the time Muguruza eventually claimed a game.

While Sharapova defends her inclusion of Williams due to the role she has played in the five-time Grand Slam champion's career, Williams was still disappointed. "I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon", Sharapova wrote.

The first set proved to be the undoing of Muguruza, as she failed to hold serve and allowed her opponent to open up a 5-0 lead before she hit back. She's always very strong on the court.

"I think there is a lot of autobiographies out in the world, especially in the sporting world, that don't necessarily speak about whether they were rivals or someone they competed against", Sharapova said.

"I came here without big expectations, just seeing how my body feels match by match".

Muguruza has not dropped a set so far in this year's tournament as she seeks a second championship in Paris and third major trophy overall.

She won the second set 6-3 and ran away with the decider 6-2. "I think everyone would ask me questions, as well", she said. "But, yeah, I think she made everyone wait a little bit". I don't know what I will change.

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