Halep beats Stephens to win first major

Maria Sharapova and Garbine Muguruza

"So I lost three times until now and no one died, so it will be okay", said the Romanian, who leads Stephens 5-2 in their career head-to-head meetings and has won their last four matches in straight sets.

World number one Simona Halep has claimed her maiden grand slam title winning the French Open final against tenth seed Sloane Stephens. "Simona has had three crushing losses in the finals, she is still searching for the elusive Grand Sam title".

Backed by fans who loudly chanted her first name between games, Halep went ahead 3-0 in only 15 minutes with the help of only one victor.

"Not the trophy I wanted but it's still lovely", Stephens said afterward, then pointed her words to Halep and said, "no one else I'd rather lose to than No. 1 in the world".

She did it the hard way, though, falling a set and a break behind to Stephens, who was hunting a second major title to add to her triumph at last year's US Open. She won the first three games of the third set, capitalizing on a few unforced errors from Stephens to win a break.

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. Her third defeat with a major title on the line came against Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open in January.

Stevens netted a service return to bow out.

Her first win in the tour since NY arrived in February in Acapulco. 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.

Halep becomes the first Romanian to win a Grand Slam since Virginia Ruzici beat Mima Jausovec in the French Open back in 1978.

"I think tomorrow is a bigger moment for Simona Halep than it is for Sloane Stephens", Evert, a Eurosport analyst, said on Friday. She was the clear favourite previous year as well to beat Ostapenko and (somehow) managed to find a way to lose. But she played two bold, aggressive points, taking chances with her forehand inside the court. She then won 14 of the next 20 points to bring herself level in the match.

"I was dreaming for this moment since I've started to play tennis", Halep said.

Stephens faded after a bright start.

Halep said she would celebrate with a "big" party in Paris on Saturday night, then take a holiday before switching her attention to the grass-court season, which culminates at Wimbledon next month. If Halep was able to handle the cross shots of Muguruza and Kerber, she should have the ability to control this match as well. It looked bleak for Halep when she trailed 2-0 in the second set but the effects of Stephens' efforts suddenly took their toll as the American began to wilt and Halep grabbed the momentum with nine consecutive points on the way to a 4-2 lead. There's no one else I'd rather lose to than the No. 1 in the world'. 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.

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