Halep Break Slam Duck, Beats Stephens for 1st Title at French Open
by Staff | June 9th, 2018, 11:24 pm
  • 12 Comments

Simona Halep has held the No. 1 ranking for some time, but on Saturday in Paris her top status received an irrefutable stamp of approval when she lifted her first Grand Slam trophy at the French Open.

Halep had to work for her first Grand Slam title in her fourth career Slam final, coming back from a set down to defeat American Sloane Stephens 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.

“I was dreaming for this moment since actually I started to play tennis,” Halep said afterwards. “It’s my favorite Grand Slam. I always said that if I’m going to win one, I want it to be here…Now I want just to forget [losing three previous Slam finals] and just enjoying this moment because it’s really special.”

In last year’s Roland Garros final Halep led by a set and a break before Jelena Ostapenko came back for her first Slam win.

Halep was down 6-3, 2-0 to Stephens who had been on a roll since her escape from Camila Giorgi’s clutches last week. In a snap, the match turned as Halep went from 0-2 down to 4-2 up, then finished off the American winning 12 of the last 15 games en route to her biggest career title.

“Last year I was a little bit defensive when I was leading the match, and now I just change it in my mind,” Halep said. “I said that I have to hit the balls. I have to move and not thinking about the last game. Just every ball, every point. I said, It’s not going to happen again, but it’s okay. I have just to play.”

It is 10 years after Halep won the girls’ title at the French Open and 40 years since a Romanian won in Paris, following Virginia Ruzici in 1978.

Six women could have left Roland Garros with the No. 1 ranking two weeks ago, including Garbine Muguruza who Halep beat in the semifinals.

Stephens with the loss saw her perfect record in tour finals fall to 6-1.

The American came out of the gates hard, but her level dipped in the second as they split sets. The third set was all Halep, who ran out to a 5-0 lead before closing it out.

“She raised her game, raised her level,” Stephens said. “Not much you can really do about that. I competed the best I could, and the better player won the match today. I think she’s had a tough journey. I think winning here is very special for her and I’m glad she finally got her first slam. It’s a beautiful thing, very special. No matter how hard the adversity that you go through, there is always light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m glad she finally got her light.”

Halep is the third different maiden Grand Slam winner in the last events. And with Serena on the mend, we head to Wimbledon with more questions than answers. And after coming up just short in her first three tries, this win made it that much more special.

“My family was all the time supporting me since I started to play tennis, also all the coaches and all the people that I have worked during this 20 years,” Halep said. “Thanks to them, because it’s tough to keep working every day at the highest level.

“All the friends, all the people that are really special for me in this life. Without them probably I couldn’t, you know, come back after losing three finals of Grand Slam. But now I want just to forget everything and just enjoying this moment because it’s really special.”


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12 Comments for Halep Break Slam Duck, Beats Stephens for 1st Title at French Open

Van Persie Says:

Finally and with an amazing run: Simona is GS champion. Now she is Nr. 1.
And what a run: Kerber in QF, Muguruza in SF..I watched her QF and SF matches only yesterday, before the finals. Had a very busy week.
Her best match at this FO was against Angie, by far. But her hardest match (mentally) was yesterday, was expected after 3 losses.


Van Persie Says:

Now I will be able to be relaxed, when watching her matches…like I do with Nole lately.:)
Both my fave had to win the FO after suffering heart breaking losses.


Wog Boy Says:

VP,
I made exemption from my self imposed exile from tennis and didn’t regret it, it was Nole match all over it, (real Nole, not this counterfeit Nole), wearing opponent down, and God, it was hard to watch, same as watching Nole matches:)
Somehow I knew Sloane cannot sustain that unbelievable first set quality, and Halep knew what she was doing, again go back to Nole’s matches, same pattern…slowly but surely taking gas out of opponents legs and making them leg less, first few sets tough battle and then bagel or breadstick:)
Don’t forget, Cahill admired Nole’s game, again, real Nole’ game.
As for a passion watching Halep, same as watching Nole, hiding around, going on veranda and watching through the window without sound, Nole’s matches all over again.
And again ….SI-MO-NA…..SI-MO-NA ….loved it…thank you Simona.


Van Persie Says:

WB,

Now that you say this, I think Cahill has always seen this potential in Halep to use Nole’s tactics in her matches
Before Agassi and Nole split up, they had a training session in Vegas together: Nole, Simona, Agassi and Cahill.

Thank you for showing up :)

You do not want to know how I looked like yesterday during the finals, hehe. But I had to behave, as I invited my father to watxh it together. Did not want to allow him to suffer alone, if Simona had lost the match. Hehe. Had to support him after the 1 set aswell. My husband went in another room as he could not bare my father’s pessimism anymore. We watched only the last few games together. :)


Wog Boy Says:

VP,
My pleasure, couldn’t pick a better moment to show up:)

BTW, before I disappear again, this is for you, you will recognize it, Danube river (Romania is on the other side of river behind happy couple), Negotin area in Serbia, wealthy Vlachs wedding, love the music love the dance, enjoy it (you will) and see you for Simona’s next GS final;)

https://youtu.be/hppywWQkHCY

PS,
I loved fatty boy who came in short pants for wedding:)


Wog Boy Says:

^^ you know who the Vlachs are, don’t you, I guess you can understand singing too?:)


Van Persie Says:

WB,

Thank you. Really, really enjoyed it. Yep, could understand all :)

Participated once at such a wedding, but on the Domanian side of Danube river. And the wording was in Serbian :) Had such a lovely time there…better than getting high ;)

You made my day, WB :)


j-kath Says:

Wogboy/VP:

Welcome back and au revoir Wogboy – why not come back for
Wimbs. VP- understand your viewing problem – I relate to your husband – in my case it was my nephew vs. Andy —he kept on saying “Won’t win with second serves” repeatedly – was usually at Nole vs. Andy matches. My sister told him to “buzz off”.


Van Persie Says:

J-Kath,

It is always funny afterwards, but really frustrating during a tennis match :)


Wog Boy Says:

JK,
Thanks for warm words, I really appreciate them, but I’ll rather sit out Wimbledon, Wimbledon has a roof and although they don’t tend to bend over to certain wishes as obvious as AO organizers do, they still bend over, like FO organizers would do if only they had a roof all those previous years. It would be great if they stay the only real “open” GS. No roof please, Frenchies.
Cheers


Daniel Says:

Same script as DelPo’s match.


Daniel Says:

First love game for him. Maybe e starts spanking the ball even more now and play loose. A break down already.


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