Simona Halep surges back against Sloane Stephens to win French Open

Aubrey Yates
June 10, 2018

But since there were a downhill turn and the Australian Open final, Halep suffered a loss to Caroline Wozniacki along with the Italian Open to Elina Svitolina capturing the title.

Ostapenko bowed out of this 2018 French Open in the first round to Kateryna Kozlova 7-5, 6-3 and as for Simona Halep, she's in the final at Roland Garros again with this time her opponent being Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open victor and who also had a bad a year ago of foot ailments and injuries, recuperating for surgery.

"I have two more days until I will play the final".

"It was awesome and thank you for your support", she told the crowd - most of whom appeared to be backing her - on court Philippe-Chatrier.

"In the last game I didn't feel like I could breathe any more and I didn't want to repeat previous year, so I did everything I could".

US Open champion Stephens used her powerful game to full effect to take the first set but then ran out of steam as Romania's Halep completed a memorable victory.

Stephens struck with the crucial break in the opening set in just the third game as a searing forehand clipped the outside of the line.

"I said there is a chance to come back and win it".

After making 30 unforced errors in the first set, which she lost 7-6 (2), Halep finally found the right rhythm to dictate points with deep groundstrokes and aggressive returns.

In the postmatch ceremony, Stephens was gracious, saying, "To Simona, congratulations on your first Slam".

Having worked her way into a strong position in the point Halep netted a straightforward backhand and let her off the hook.

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"I see guys up there with the Romanian flag", she said. Stephens has dropped just one set this entire tournament and has been playing extremely clean tennis, making very few mistakes.

Juan Martin del Potro is back in the French Open semifinals for the first time since 2009 and will next face Rafael Nadal, the man with the most appearances at this stage of the clay-court Grand Slam.

There was also a big hug for coach Darren Cahill who was in the losers' box past year when Halep blew a commanding lead against Jelena Ostapenko in the final.

Having known the frustration of time away from the court perhaps explains her nearly trance-like calm in the heat of battle - always appearing unruffled. And her victory didn't lack for theatrics, as she looked dead set on a path to defeat after Stephens' hot start and yet left her opponent without any answers in a 6-1 closing set.

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

Muguruza's last stand came at 4-all in the second set, a 13-minute game in which she held three break points. Stephens started missing. A double-fault here.

Halep listened. Now she will proudly display that bit of hardware at home.

That means Saturday's final at the French Open will be Halep's third title match in the past five Grand Slam tournaments.

Jana Novotna, the Czech star, also lost her first three major finals, finally winning Wimbledon in 1998.

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. Stephens has shown her mental toughness in defeating close friend Madison keys to win the US Open title in 2017.

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