Simona Halep wins first Grand Slam title - reactions

Stephens to play Halep for second Grand Slam title

Stephens to play Halep for second Grand Slam title

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.

It was the flawless 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's a big chance to win my dream tournament", added Halep, who took time out from preparing for the final by watching Rafael Nadal's men's semi-final against Juan Martin del Potro on Friday.

Until Saturday, Stephens was 6-0, including a rout of Madison Keys, her American compatriot and friend, in last year's US Open final, where Stephens capped a remarkably speedy comeback from a foot operation.

Halep's victory at Roland Garros comes ten years after she won the tournament as a junior and 40 years after another Romanian, Virginia Ruzici, also won the French Open. Honestly, I can not believe.

As the first Romanian to win a Grand Slam since 1978, the 26-year-old not only redeemed herself after a January loss at the Australian Open but delivered on a career-long hunt for a championship.

She couldn't capitalise on it though as Halep found another break to take the set and force a decider.

Winner, Simona Halep of Romania (R) and runner up Sloane Stephens of The United States (L) celebrate with their trophies following the ladies singles final during day fourteen of the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2018 in Paris, France. "I don't get too up, too down", said Stephens. "No matter how hard the adversity that you go through, there is always light at the end of the tunnel, and I'm glad she finally got her light".

"I tried to not do the same thing as a year ago".

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Halep was closing in on the title she craved so much, while Stephens was wilting fast, and a comfortable hold made it 5-0.

The duo have played each other seven times previously with Halep winning on five occasions including their last meeting at Roland Garros in 2014.

The result was redemption for Halep who had twice lost the final in Paris - in 2014 and a year ago when Jelena Ostapenko staged her own comeback. His final season came just months after Sloane was born.

With their Davis Cup captain Yannick Noah watching from the stands, Herbert and Mahut claimed their third Grand Slam title together by defeating Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic 6-2, 7-6 (4) in the final.

When Halep ended a 14-stroke point by pushing a backhand wide, Stephens owned the first set.

Sloane Stephens led Simona Halep by a set and a break at 2-0 in the second of their French Open final.

It hasn't all been plain sailing since, though, as she suffered a severe hangover after her NY triumph and failed to win in the rest of 2017. She has lost all three in the past, including two at Roland Garros in 2014 and previous year.

Halep is 2-0 against Stephens on clay.

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