Wait worthwhile as Halep wins French Open

Wait worthwhile as Halep wins French Open

Halep will have a fourth opportunity to finally lift a Grand Slam trophy when she faces US Open champion Sloane Stephens today in her third Roland Garros final, having lost a tight match with Maria Sharapova back in 2014. The player who was up a set and 3-0 in the second in last year's final at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament was now the one able to dismiss a deficit.

That heartbreak, though, has been replaced by joy. "Not me, obviously. I don't feel pressure", Halep said.

"In the last game, I felt I could not breath any more", she said courtside. Like previous year, I feel Halep will make an excellent start to the match but when it gets tight, she might just falter.

"That's why I won".

She pummeled a serve on match point and raised her arms in joy before going into the stands to embrace hugs with her entourage.

Stephens put a tired backhand wide to hand Halep the set and there was only going to be one victor from there as Halep turned the screws to break and then move 4-0 ahead when she chased a drop shot down and was equal to Stephens' attempted lob.

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. Stephens earned three break points with a stunning forehand attack down the line and converted her first chance. It's a handsome thing, very special.

"And then when I started to win games, I said that a year ago [against Ostapenko] it happened to me, same thing, I was set and a break up and I lost the match".

Her third came earlier this year to another perennial underachiever on the biggest stage, Dane Caroline Wozniacki, in a marathon match in sweltering conditions at the Australian Open. "I have just to play", the world number one said.

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"It's never easy playing someone from your country, let alone someone you actually care about and you're friends with", Stephens said afterward.

But in the contest of two of the best movers in tennis, Halep had to work hard for her first hold, prevailing in a 25-shot rally for 1-1.

"To me, it is really going to depend on who's the most fearless and who's going to come out the box and play more aggressive tennis".

A composed looking Stephens was indeed the first to break through, gaining a 3-1 advantage.

Where will the Simona Halep vs Sloane Stephens French Open women's singles final be played? But whatever comes next, the spirit and elegance Halep showed in her victory on Saturday will define her for years to come. She broke to grab the second set when Stephens sailed a backhand wide, all part of a seven-game run that made it 5-0 in the third.

Muguruza settled down in the second set, moving 2-0 ahead before Halep levelled in the eighth game.

Halep then lost serve to love and when Stephens dragged it back to 4-4, it seemed Halep's revival might be over.

The momentum - and crowd, who often chanted "Simona, Simona" - was with her.

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