Halep, Stephens to meet in French final


When asked about her previous Grand Slam final defeats, Halep told The New York Times: "I lost three times until now, and no one died, so it will be OK".

Garbine Muguruza's big strokes overwhelmed Maria Sharapova right from the start.

This afternoon she must defy the brilliance and athleticism of American Stephens, who will be competing in her first final at Roland Garros, in order to get her hands on the Suzanne Lenglen cup.

Stephens regularly threatened the Halep serve, though finally faced a break point at 5-3.

Yes, Halep has shown an admirable self-awareness when it comes to her hitherto unsuccessful quest for a Slam.

But Halep doesn't want to focus on that, even though it must give her added confidence. "So I have always, you know, and especially having a daughter, like, I feel like negativity is taught". Probably nothing, because I will keep my routine. I was, like, 'OK, next round.' That's just kind of how you handle it.

Stephens briefly looked out on her feet, but raised her game by shortening the points to break straight back before levelling the set at 4-4, helped by the first ace of the match.

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Muguruza pounced on Sharapova's errors to lead 4-0.

Down 3-6, 0-2 at one point in this weekend's 2018 French Open women's final, Halep looked nearly helpless against Stephens to start her anticipated match, as the American owned the first set, CBS Sports reported. Stephens said: "You have to go out there and get after it and make sure you play every point and try to execute your game plan as best as possible".

Twelve months ago at Roland Garros, the world No. 1 relinquished a set and 3-0 lead against Jelena Ostapenko in the final and this January, Caroline Wozniacki overturned a break hole at 3-4 in the final set at the Australian Open. "I believe that I have the game to win the match". Serena Williams is a three-time French Open champion, Jennifer Capriati won in 2001, and the legendary Chris Evert retired with a 94.5% winning record on clay, triumphing seven times at Roland Garros. "I think there are a lot of good things like the way my body has handled the long matches that I have played, the back-to-backs".

There was no doubt entering Thursday's semifinals that there would be an American woman advancing to the final of the French Open.

Halep went all out in the first set but her bold strategy backfired badly as she hit 30 unforced errors. Stephens has now followed that up by once again defeating Keys to reach the final in Paris. She made the last-16 in Madrid and Rome and now has a chance to make the French Open final.

Stephens continued to dominate and broke in the first and seventh games of the second set to put herself in a position to serve for the match. He came back on court in full swing and made Schwartzman run with a combination of deep groundstrokes and subtle drop shots.