The crowd was treated to a fantastic showdown on Saturday as Simona Halep was able to win her first Grand Slam title at the French Open by defeating Sloane Stephens 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
In the first set, Sloane played superbly and with great poise. She continued to pressure Halep at the baseline, and Simona’s unforced errors began to pile up. A couple of breaks on Halep’s service game and the first set was Sloane’s.
The second set didn’t start any better for Halep, and Sloane quickly went up 2-0. It was at this moment that Halep may have thought back to last year’s French Open final.
In that match, the situation was reversed in that Halep was the one who had taken the first set and was up 3-0 in the second. She then went on to allow her opponent, Jelena Ostapenko, to rally for the win in a devastating three-set loss.
Perhaps she drew upon that experience as motivation to stage her own comeback. It certainly looked that way. Suddenly, her level of play surged, while Sloane’s dipped. A couple of breaks on Sloane’s serve and the set was Simona’s.
Halep’s momentum from the second set carried into the third. The crowd feverishly chanting for Halep certainly couldn’t have helped Sloane. The American appeared to be playing tentatively and looked to be just trying to weather the storm of Halep’s raise in play. That storm continued to swirl and soon Halep converted on match point to win her first major.
Halep can finally breathe a sense of relief with winning her first Grand Slam title in four tries and will tighten her grip on the world No. 1 ranking.
Its not all bad news for the reigning US Open champ, though. On Monday, Stephens will move up to being ranked No. 4 in the world and, for the first time, the highest ranked American woman.
The next Grand Slam event will be at Wimbledon in a few weeks and you can bet that both of these champions will be huge threats. That tournament will start on July 2nd.
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