4th time's the charm: Halep tops Stephens to win French Open

Halep vs Kerber

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.

World number one Simona Halep finally won her first Grand Slam title with a gutsy comeback victory over American 10th seed Sloane Stephens in the French Open final.

"Thank you, guys - it was wonderful and I felt your support", Halep said afterwards.

It was past year though in 2017 that Halep won the Madrid Open title from Kristina Mladenovic in three defiant sets but had a bag full of losing streaks when she lost in the final round to Elina Svitolina at the Italian Open, Ostapenko at the French Open and Garbine Muguruza at the Western and Southern Open. "When I was down a break in the second set I thought 'Everything is gone, I'm gonna start to relax and enjoy the match, ' and I came back".

Halep, down a set and a break, then made Stephens uncomfortable and proved why she's the best in the world right now. In all, Halep won 12 of the final 15 games, serving out the match at 5-1 and then dropping her racket as she faced her team in the players' box with both her arms held high.

"It's always hard playing someone from your country and such a good friend", Stephens said, "so I was really pleased to be able to get through that and play some good tennis".

Top seed Simona Halep reached her third French Open final by stopping hard-hitting Spaniard Garbine Muguruza in her tracks with a 6-1, 6-4 semifinal victory on Thursday.

Nadal is only the third male player in the Open era to reach 11 semifinals at a single Grand Slam, alongside Roger Federer and Jimmy Connors.

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Halep is easily one of the most popular, well-deserved Grand Slam champions on tour. Stephens' last win over Halep came in the 2013 Australian Open. But it was a different story entirely as the second set went on.

Although Stephens knew what it took to win a major final, Halep has had a clear edge when they have played head to head.

Halep had suffered plenty of pain in the past, losing three Slam finals prior to her victory on Saturday.

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. She was the clear favourite a year ago as well to beat Ostapenko and (somehow) managed to find a way to lose.

But she climbed back into the top 100 with strong performances at lesser tournaments, then broke out at the U.S. Open.

Stephens will rise to number four in the world after her run to the final in Paris but insisted that the rankings were not a priority. Halep refused to panic, and slowly and surely Stephens started to lose heart. But in the end, she couldn't quite overcome Halep's excellence.

Down a set and a break in the second, Halep rose to the challenge and started moving the American around the court to the joy of an openly pro-Halep crowd at the Philippe-Chatrier Court. To Halep's dismay, she sent a backhand into the net.

Halep said she has dreamt about winning Roland Garros since she was 14 years old.

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