Published: Sun, June 10, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

World rejoices for Halep's title win at Roland Garros

World rejoices for Halep's title win at Roland Garros

The Simona Halep vs Sloane Stephens tennis match will begin at around 6:30 PM IST.

Halep added Grand Slam trophy No. 1 to her No. 1 ranking, coming back from a set and a break down to beat Stephens 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 Saturday and win the French Open championship in a match made up of lengthy points and key momentum swings.

Simona Halep finally got the major breakthrough that she had been waiting for.

"Thanks guys it was incredible and I felt your support", Halep, twice a runner-up in Paris before today, told the crowd who were chanting her name.

"I was dreaming for this moment since I started to play tennis so thank you and I'm really happy it has happened in Roland Garros in Paris, my special city".

Fast forward to today: Seemingly outplayed by Sloane Stephens, down a set and a break, she never stopped pressing and believing, never got down on herself.

Stephens regularly threatened the Halep serve, though finally faced a break point at 5-3.

After dropping her first set at the tournament, the 2016 victor Muguruza fared better in the second, while failing to stop the in-form Halep towards her third final appearance at Grand Slam tournaments.

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. But Halep turned that one around, too, and pointed her right index finger at her temple afterward, as if to let the world know what allowed her to win that day.

She said: "I'm fast, though, no?"

A year ago, a somber Halep said she'd "felt like a spectator on the court" at Roland Garros as unseeded Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia took command midway through their final.

In the opening set, Stephens' sharp movement across the baseline enabled her to return everything Halep threw at her, while forcing the Romanian into errors and hitting some wonderful winners herself. Her strong form after her early-season struggles indicates that her title in Flushing Meadows was just a beginning.

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.

Muguruza's last stand came at 4-all in the second set, a 13-minute game in which she held three break points.

"Congratulations to Simona. There is no-one else I'd rather lose to than the number one in the world". She ended up with six double-faults and 27 total unforced errors, 12 more than Muguruza.

She had gone 0-3 in matches with a major trophy on the line before facing Stephens for the Roland Garros title.

He had threatened to stop working with her, saying that Halep's negative body language and attitude were standing in her way.

If there wasn't enough insult of injury, Halep also saw her inconsistencies develop and result in losing the final at the China Open to an upcoming Caroline Garcia. She was 0-3 in previous Grand Slam title trips, including ones where she led in deciding third sets.

Thursday's win means she now has a 3-0 record against her longtime friend Keys, including their US Open final last September.

There couldn't have been a more popular champion as the tennis world celebrated nearly more than Halep did.

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