Halep vs.Stephens final
Originally published on 07/06/18 00:00
Simona Halep defeated Garbine Muguruza 6-1 6-4 to take her place in the 2018 Roland Garros final.
Halep got off to a quick start on Court Philippe Chatrier on Thursday, racing into a 5-0 lead
“I knew that I have to be aggressive like her.” Help said “I knew that she’s gonna start the match with a lot of power.”
Muguruza said: “She started playing very well immediately, and I wasn’t able to reach the level that she was playing.”
Muguruza broke serve in the second set and had a 4-2 lead, but Halep showed resilience and saved three break points in the ninth game breaking her opponent to love to secure the match in just over an hour and a half.
Halep takes her place in her fourth Grand Slam final; three of those have been played here in Paris. In 2014 she was runner up to Maria Sharapova and last year she was beaten by Jelena Ostapenko
Unsurprisingly Halep was not too keen to dwell on the past finals but was upbeat this year about her prospects.
“So I lost three times until now and no one died, so it will be okay,” she said smiling. “But I will be, I think, more confident, because I have a lot of experience.”
“It’s always a special moment to qualify in the final of a Grand Slam. It’s a great moment. It’s the best moment in your career, because the Grand Slams are the most important tournaments,” she said.
Halep has played a lot of matches since she was runner up to Wozniacki in Melbourne earlier this year. Most recently she reached the final in Rome and semi finals in Doha and Indian Wells. Today, winning this match, the Romanian ensured that she remains at the top of the list when the rankings are released on Monday.
“I feel happy. I feel good. I feel that everything I have done until now, the work that I put after Melbourne and everything together, it worked very well, and that’s why I’m here today,” she said.
In the second of the day’s semi-finals, and in a re-run of the 2017 US Open final Sloane Stephens defeated Madison Keys 6-4 6-4.
25 year-old Stephens was making her seventh appearance at Roland Garros and this is her best result. She missed last year’s clay season with a foot injury, which kept her out of tennis for 11 months but ended the season becoming the 2017 US Open Champion while ranked No 87 in the world.
She seems to save her best play for the biggest events. She won her first WTA Premier event earlier this year when she defeated Ostapenko in the final in Miami.
“I wouldn’t say I’m shocked, but I’m, like, very happy. I think I worked really hard coming back and getting in the gym, and when I was chubby trying to get skinny and when I was out of shape getting back in shape. Like, I have recognized more things I have needed to do”
“At the beginning of the year I was injured. I didn’t have a good result in Australia, and I knew that I needed to change some things, and I did that and I had a great result in Miami. I had a great showing at Fed Cup.”
In reaching the final here Stephens will rise to World No 4 when the rankings are released on Monday.
The last American to hold a Top 5 ranking other than Serena or Venus Williams was Lindsay Davenport in April 2006. Davenport is currently coaching Madison Keys.
In the men’s quarterfinals that were completed earlier on Thursday Rafael Nadal beat Diego Schwartzman 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-2. He will play Juan Martin Del Potro in the semi-finals on Friday. Del Potro defeated Marin Cilic 7-6(5) 5-7 6-3 7-5
Friday’s other semi-final is between Dominic Thiem and Marco Cecchinato.
On Friday the men’s semi finals start at 1pm local time