Friday, 17 August, 2018

Halep wins first Grand Slam title at the French Open

GETTYSerena Williams has withdrawn from the French Open GETTYSerena Williams has withdrawn from the French Open
Eugene Bates | 10 June, 2018, 10:12

The Romanian rallied from a set and break deficit to beat Sloane Stephens 3-6 6-4 6-1 to win the French Open on Saturday and her first grand slam title after three near misses.

That heartbreak, though, has been replaced by joy.

'Well first of all thank you guys, ' she said on court after the match.

"In the last game, I felt I could not breath any more", she said courtside.

An emotional Halep said after the victory: "I was dreaming for this moment since I've started to play tennis. And the fact that I could be number one in the world a year ago gave me confidence and gave me a little bit of relief, because I touched something big, something huge, and I just had in my mind to win a Grand Slam after that".

Halep won 15 of the next 18 points on Saturday, and then 12 of the next 15 games with both strength and steadiness, and she did it against a big-point player who stood 6-0 in WTA Tour finals previously.

She did manage to make Stephens serve for the set, though, and was stepping into the court with more authority, bringing up her first break point.

The world No.1 finally got her hands on the coveted Coupe Suzanne-Lenglen four years after her first appearance in the final at Roland Garros. It's a handsome thing, very special.

She did it the hard way, though, falling a set and a break behind to Stephens, who was hunting a second major title to add to her triumph at last year's US Open.

Halep raced into a 5-0 lead in the first set against misfiring 2016 champion Muguruza who had blasted Maria Sharapova off court on Wednesday for the loss of just three games. "Sometimes it happens when you play against an opponent", Stephens said. The other was an eight-match losing streak that began right after she won her first major trophy at last year's U.S. Open and included a first-round exit at this year's Australian Open.

The American had tired irreparably, and it was her turn to fall 2-0 down at the start of the deciding set.

The wait is finally over for Simona Halep.

Having worked her way into a strong position in the point Halep netted a straightforward backhand and let her off the hook. She collected herself and relied on her superior fitness to wear down Stephens, who looked flat by the end of the second set.

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

Take a look at some of the best tweets after Halep's hard-earned victory.

She reeled off nine straight points to lead 3-2 on serve, then broke for 4-2. The crowd roared her on, chanting "SI-MO-NA!" Serving at 4-4, 30-30, Halep was still on the edge, however.

During the trophy ceremony, Stephens - more experienced in such matters, given her triumph in NY last September - noticed that Halep was casually holding her new silver trophy. 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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