Published: Sun, June 10, 2018
Sports | By Toni Houston

Halep beats Stephens to win Roland Garros title

Halep beats Stephens to win Roland Garros title

One of the main reasons why Halep has yet to lift a major title is her relative lack of power when compared to the game's other big stars. Finally, finally, she had done it!

"For me staying calm is the most important thing", added Stephens, who called herself a "real fighter" after the US Open.

On Saturday, Halep finally broke through, becoming the first Romanian woman to win the French Open in 40 years.

If Theim is going to earn the French Open title, he would be well-advised to win the first set.

Halep, who was beaten in the 2017 final despite holding a set and 3-0 lead against Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, kept up the momentum in the third set today to open up a 5-0 lead before earning a match point with a raging smash. It was as if Halep were not only playing on crushed red brick but also against a red brick wall.

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

Halep managed to save three break points, including one with a powerful forehand victor down the line, but the Romanian dropped her serve on Stephens' next chance when she could not properly return a clever lob from her American rival. She persevered through a battle to hold serve and go up 5-4. So I did it well, and I was very strong mentally to finish that.' Is it more satisfaying to be No.

"She raised her game, raised her level", Stephens said in a press conference after a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 loss Saturday in Paris. As Stephens looked airtight through a first-set win and a 2-0 lead in the second, and through a whole bale of long rallies causing appreciative applause, it looked like a reinforcement of Stephens's 2017 U.S. Open win, as well as the notion of Stephens as a top-five-caliber player.

"I'm really happy that I could beat a player like Muguruza", Halep said after the match. "I did everything I could". So I believed in that and my game was more relaxed. Stephens has now followed that up by once again defeating Keys to reach the final in Paris.

Halep began slowly, unable to solve Stephens, the 10th-seeded American who won her first Grand Slam at last year's US Open.

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

"There's no one else I'd rather lose to than the number one in the world".

The world number one had lost all three of her previous major finals, including two at Roland Garros, but staged a thrilling comeback to win after two hours and three minutes.

And that's not to say they're merely content to push balls back. Both can counterpunch, and also attack on their own when required.

"They say the destination is more handsome if there's a bit of a bumpy road and you eventually get there".

Halep celebrated her victory in a way usually seen at Wimbledon, climbing into her box to greet friends and family. If not, she'll feel heartbreak in Paris for the third time.

However, Halep, in her fourth Grand Slam final, was not to be denied, claiming the Suzanne Lenglen trophy on her 32nd appearance at a Grand Slam.

At this year's Australian Open, she scrapped her way through the draw.

She has paid her dues and then some. Stephens earned three break points with a stunning forehand attack down the line and converted her first chance. "I can only imagine how she must be feeling".

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