Simona Halep surges back against Sloane Stephens to win French Open

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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.

While Serena Williams insists she has zero ill will towards Maria Sharapova, their relationship has apparently been strained by the release of the Russian's autobiography, Unstoppable.

Halep, meanwhile, has participated in a trio of major finals, losing each.

"And I think we played many matches", Sharapova said of Williams. Probably nothing, because I will keep my routine.

"So we will see what is going to happen, but I just want to be smiling on court".

After three losses in major finals, maybe Halep was trying to convince herself as much as anyone else she actually could do it.

But Keys, who made 23 unforced errors in the first set, hit back hard and set up a break point at 3-2, only for Stephens to save it with a service return victor.

A first-ever Grand Slam final defeat in straight sets for Halep looked likely as soon as Stephens claimed the first game of the second set on her fourth break point.

"It's always hard to play someone from your country and such a good friend, but I'm happy I played my tennis", Stephens said.

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Indeed, there is something of a deja-vu feel from last year's final, where she was a heavy favourite over Jelena Ostapenko, and Halep needs to defeat Stephens to bury the ghosts from what must have been an incredibly deflating defeat - not to mention her best chance to win a Slam title. Halep saved two match points to win that one. "It's been a little bit longer for me to get used to it, but I feel like every year I get more comfortable".

Although the Russian recently lost to Garbine Muguruza in French open, her ranking has improved considerably since her return to court after serving a ban over use of prohibited substance. I just try to stay calm and play my game.

- Sloane Stephens won't be doing anything over the top before attempting to win a second Grand Slam title.

"Maybe the fourth time will be with luck", Halep told the crowd at the awards ceremony then, shortly before checking into a Melbourne hospital with severe dehydration after the draining three-set match. Stephens has made the second week in Paris in five of her seven appearances and Keys is slowly coming to terms with the surface. That includes the French Open in 2014 and 2017, and the Australian Open in January.

Halep won 15 of the next 18 points on Saturday, and then 12 of the next 15 games with both strength and steadiness, and she did it against a big-point player who stood 6-0 in WTA Tour finals previously.

The final between Simona Halep and Sloane Stephens takes place on Saturday 9 June at Roland-Garros and starts at 2pm (UK time).

"This is the furthest she has ever reached at Roland-Garros". We saw that in last year's U.S. Open-she came right out of the gates firing on all cylinders. It would be very unusual, I think, if I didn't write anything about her.

"She did a lot of things better than I did", Sharapova said.

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