Tennis: Wait worthwhile as Halep wins French Open

Sunday, 2018-06-10 07:22:25
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Romania’s Simona Halep celebrates with the trophy after winning the final against Sloane Stephens of the US. (Photo: Reuters)
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For a while Simona Halep’s third French Open final looked like ending in familiar heartache but the Romanian eventually wore down Sloane Stephens for a 3-6 6-4 6-1 victory and claim her long-awaited first Grand Slam title on Saturday.

US Open champion Stephens out-fought Halep to take the opening set and was a break up in the second but the world number one wound her way back into contention before running away with the deciding set.

When Halep served for the match at 5-1 with chants of “See-Mohh-Nahhh” reverberating around Court Philippe Chatrier, only a sudden attack of nerves could have denied her.

But when Stephens netted a forehand return on Halep’s first match point, the Romanian could finally replace the bitter memories of her first three Grand Slam finals with one she will cherish for the rest of her life.

Halep’s win was one of the most popular for many years at Roland Garros and at times during the match the support for the 26-year-old was deafening.

That was not the case in the first though as Stephens, the first American not called Williams to reach the French Open final since Jennifer Capriati won in 2001, played flawlessly.

Reuters