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No pressure for Simona Halep ahead of title match vs Sloane Stephens
10 June 2018, 12:28 | Anna Jefferson
Maria Sharapova and Garbine Muguruza face off for a place in the French Open semi-finals on Wednesday
However, Halep, in her fourth Grand Slam final, was not to be denied.
"It's very emotional. I've been waiting for this moment since I was 14", she told the crowd after lifting the trophy up in the air, then kissing it. I have just to play.' And then when I started to win games, I said that past year happened to me, same thing, I was set and a break up and I lost the match.
Take a look at some of the best tweets after Halep's hard-earned victory. Honestly, I could not believe.
The psychology of this final involved Halep desperately wanting to break her duck at the Majors and Stephens having the security of already knowing that she had one in the bank. She had played two finals in Paris before, losing to Russian Maria Sharapova in 2014 and then to Latvian Jelena Ostapenko in heartbreaking fashion previous year.
Sloane Stephens beat compatriot and friend Madison Keys 6-4, 6-4 to become the first American woman other than Venus or Serena Williams to reach the French Open final since Jennifer Capriati in 2001. "(It) shows me that I have enough patience, I have enough power inside to stay calm", Halep said.
The Romanian also lost the 2018 Australian Open final, against Caroline Wozniacki, but she will have the support of tennis fans around the world willing her on to win a first career Grand Slam title.
It was a heartwarming victory, one that looked unlikely for long stretches, but inevitable at the end, Halep dragging herself out of a numbing torpor to crush the American 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
And when Saturday's fourth chance arrived, Halep began slowly, unable to solve Stephens, the 10th-seeded American who won her first Grand Slam title at last year's U.S. Open. Stephens has won 10 of her last 13 matches on clay court.
Stephens started the game aggressively but Halep was able to hold her own to start with. Stephens has dropped just one set this entire tournament and has been playing extremely clean tennis, making very few mistakes.
"I will put everything I have Saturday on the court". She had every answer to Halep's game, she knew perfectly how to slide, she was consistent off both sides and always perfectly balanced.
Stephens, who was facing the ignominy of a third-set bagel, managed to get on the board with a hold in the fifth game of the decider, but Halep was not to be denied.
"Stephens is red hot right now", says Floyd. Still only 26 and finally unshackled from that overwhelming sense of uncertainty, Halep will enter the second half of the season with a firm grip on her No. 1 ranking and a renewed sense of confidence. Stephens won 71 percent of her total service points and had just 11 unforced errors.
"To Simona, congratulations on your first Slam".
The match was at its best in the first set but was rarely less compelling as Halep completely justified her number one ranking.
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