Will this French Open be Simona Halep's lucky slam?

Will this French Open be Simona Halep's lucky slam?

Halep began slowly, unable to solve Stephens, the 10th-seeded American who won her first Grand Slam at last year's US Open.

With the US Open champion leading 6-3, 2-0 and looking on course to win her second Grand Slam, Halep recalled memories of the last time she stepped on Court Philippe Chatrier in the championship - when she fell to Jelena Ostapenko in last year's final despite leading by a set and a break herself - and used that as fuel for a championship comback.

"I did everything I could, and I was dreaming of this moment from the time I started to play tennis", Halep said on the NBC broadcast.

She'll reach the top five anyway next week, but what happened just after the 2-0 lead wound up ratifying the idea of Halep as a fighter, an idea cemented when she lost the 2018 Australian Open final to Caroline Wozniacki in three sets and wound up treated for dehydration. "I think winning here is very special for her, and I'm glad she finally got her first Slam". "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".

The Romanian says she is more relaxed, and more fatalistic, this year - and it certainly showed on court. 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. I had two double faults, so it was a bit tough.

Halep has been in fine form so far at Roland Garros and eased past former victor Garbine Muguruza 6-1, 6-4 in the last four - a victory which also ensured she will remain the world number one at the end of the tournament.

French Open organizers have paid tribute to Maria Bueno, who has died at age 78 after battling mouth cancer, with a minute's applause ahead of the women's singles final.

But Halep to her credit never stopped fighting, even though she dropped her serve in the opening game of the next set, she bounced back with two breaks of her own to lead 4-2.

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"She's No. 1 in the world for a reason", Stephens said of Halep. If Halep was able to handle the cross shots of Muguruza and Kerber, she should have the ability to control this match as well.

The Romanian knows better than anyone how Grand Slam finals can turn though after her 2017 heartbreak against Ostapenko, and she broke back to love to the delight of the crowd. "I don't want to think about that.it's a different match, different situation", she said.

Showing remarkable nerves given that this was only her second Grand Slam final appearance, Stephens consistently held her serve to take the first set 6-3. Someone told me actually just run and not miss and you're going to win.

If Halep got off to a flyer in the semi, she had considerable help from Muguruza, who looked like she needed to follow the example of Serena Williams a couple of years ago and order a coffee to be brought to the court. She's a great opponent, a great player.

Halep, down a set and a break, then made Stephens uncomfortable and proved why she's the best in the world right now.

Having worked her way into a strong position in the point Halep netted a straightforward backhand and let her off the hook.

Halep beat Stephens the last four times they played each other.

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