Halep tops Stephens to win French Open

Maria Sharapova and Garbine Muguruza

Maria Sharapova and Garbine Muguruza face off for a place in the French Open semi-finals on Wednesday Credit afp

I'm really happy that it's happened in Roland Garros in Paris, my special city.

"In the last game I felt like I could not breathe anymore", said Halep.

In the latest Tennis Podcast, former player and American broadcasting great Mary Carillo joins Catherine Whitaker to describe the Stephens she got to know while working together at The Tennis Channel in the US.

The hold/break and head to head edges make Halep's status as a solid favourite correct, but until she lifts her first Grand Slam trophy, there will continue to be doubts about her ability in Slam finals.

Take a look at some of the best tweets after Halep's hard-earned victory. "Simona was more assured and looked at ease once again as she used her efficient defensive game to nullify Muguruza's groundstrokes".

The world number one had lost all three of her previous major finals, including two at Roland Garros, and said she struggled to contain her emotions after staging a thrilling comeback.

If we're lucky, Saturday's Roland-Garros final will also signal the start of a good rivalry in tennis.

That kind of inconsistency was never going to be enough to stop Stephens, who held on to an early break in the third game to serve out the first set - though Keys could consider herself unlucky after the forehand victor from Stephens on break point was later revealed to be long by Hawkeye.

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"After not playing for 11 months, I've had some great results", said the American, who has a ideal 6-0 record in finals. Halep ended the match when Stephens returned a serve into the net.

And when Saturday's fourth chance arrived, Halep began slowly, unable to solve Stephens, the 10th-seeded American who won her first Grand Slam title at last year's U.S. Open.

She'll hold onto her No. 1 ranking, while Stephens will rise to a career-high ranking of No. 4. "I competed the best that I could and the better player won the match today".

She lost that second set 6-4, then the third 6-3. "I wish in the future to play more finals here, because it's a really lovely tournament and it is my favourite one".

Against Keys on Friday, Stephens took full advantage of her opponent's ill discipline. Then at 30-30, Halep won two consecutive points to claim the second set. This feels like it's finally her time.

"With the level of Sloane's play, Simona was having trouble finding ways to win easy points", said her coach, Darren Cahill.

The Romanian failed to consolidate it, however and misdirected three forehands to help Stephens break back at love to 3-4.

Stephens had told of "no one else in the world I'd rather lose to". The markets grossly over-rated Muguruza following her win over Maria Sharapova, and with this in mind, it was extremely pleasing that the Romanian picked up an emphatic victory, and bookends a relatively successful campaign for us, from a women's perspective.

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