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Simona Halep beats Sloane Stephens in French Open final, wins maiden Grand Slam

Simona Halep had lost all three of her previous major finals, including two at Roland Garros, but staged a thrilling comeback vs Sloane Stephens in the French Open 2018 summit clash to win after two hours and three minutes.

tennis Updated: Jun 09, 2018 21:08 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Simona Halep,Sloane Stephens,French Open
Romania's Simona Halep reacts during her women's singles final match against Sloane Stephens of the US, on day fourteen of The Roland Garros 2018 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on June 9, 2018. (AFP)

Simona Halep, who is number one in the WTA rankings, clinched her maiden Grand Slam title by beating 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the French Open final in Paris on Saturday.

Halep came back from a set down to beat Stephens 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to end her poor run in Grand Slam tournaments and justify her status as world number one.

“I tried to not do the same thing as last year. It’s a dream and it’s so special to do it here in Paris,” she said.

“When I was down a break in the second set I just tried to relax and enjoy the match.”

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Stephens started the game aggressively but Halep was able to hold her own to start with. But when the American broke Halep in the fourth game itself, the first set was all but decided.

Showing remarkable nerves given that this was only her second Grand Slam final appearance, Stephens consistently held her serve to take the first set 6-3.

Halep, though, was not to be outdone in the second set and came out hitting hard, eventually forcing a break of serve in the fourth game.

She then held her serve and broke Stephens again but Stephens broke back in the very next game, thus leaving the result of the second set very much up in the air.

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However, Halep then broke Stephens’ serve a third time to clinch the second set 6-4.

The loss of the second set clearly had a negative effect of Stephens, who began to show signs of frustration on court.

Halep, now with momentum on her side, continued to push forward and broke Stephens’ serve in the very first game of the third set.

She then held serve and broke Stephens yet again, taking a 4-0 lead before easily winning her serve.

Stephens avoided the embarrassment of a bagel in the final set but Halep held her serve to win her maiden Grand Slam title.

(With AFP inputs)

First Published: Jun 09, 2018 20:53 IST