Simona Halep cements her status as the world's best player

Doug Mendoza
June 10, 2018

Halep was my pick to win the French Open before the tournament, even though I picked against her in the Muguruza match. I have just to play.' And then when I started to win games, I said that a year ago happened to me, same thing, I was set and a break up and I lost the match.

Halep - the world's top-ranked player - entered the Roland Garros finale without a grand slam win despite reaching three deciders, two of which were in Paris.

Take a look at some of the best tweets after Halep's hard-earned victory.

"When I was down a break in the second set I just tried to relax and enjoy the match".

After heartbreak in three previous major finals, Halep summoned up her best tennis and all the mental strength she has developed over the past year to finally overcome her biggest hurdle.

She had lost her previous three finals, including to Jelena Ostapenko in Paris past year.

Sloane Stephens beat compatriot and friend Madison Keys 6-4, 6-4 to become the first American woman other than Venus or Serena Williams to reach the French Open final since Jennifer Capriati in 2001.

"I think I'm pretty calm on the court all the time, I'd say". Halep, one of eight women in the Open Era to lose in their first three Grand Slam finals, must dig deep to win every point given Stephens hasn't much court to cover behind the baseline.

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Halep entered the final as the favorite given her clay-court prowess, higher ranking and holding a 5-2 head-to-head record against her rival.

The 2008 Roland Garros girls' singles champion learnt a harsh lesson previous year against Jelena Ostapenko, when she played not to lose from 3-0 up in the second set.

Simona Halep showed why she is the world No. 1 on Saturday when she came from behind to lift her maiden Grand Slam against Solaine Stephens. For sure he is beatable, but you have to have the level, and Dominic has the level and you have to play the flawless match and the most important thing is you can't miss the occasions that you have. Of her first 14 points, 13 arrived via errors by Muguruza - nine unforced, four forced.

While Halep's slump from a set and 3-0 up against Jelena Ostapenko at Roland Garros was in the full glare of the world's media, Stephens's own professional crisis was more private but just as devastating.

She broke in the fourth and served out for the set in the ninth game, showing some impressive defence against an increasingly aggressive Halep. She's hitting her stride, and though it's come later than many thought, Stephens' prime might be now.

Halep, meanwhile, still looked fresh, perhaps benefiting from having gone to three sets in all of her Grand Slam final appearances, and she quickly saw out the match for the championship.

Another grand slam chance for Simona Halep. The semi-final will have added stakes as the victor will become the women's world number one.

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