Halep Dramatically Comes Back To Beat Determined Stephens In French Open Final.

This was entirely familiar territory for the perspicacious Simona Halep. Confronting a determined Sloane Stephens in the final of the Roland Garros, the Romanian must have wondered whether the tennis gods were frowning down upon her again. Twice she had been beaten in title-round contests at the French Open, falling short in memorable three-set skirmishes against Maria Sharapova […]

This was entirely familiar territory for the perspicacious Simona Halep. Confronting a determined Sloane Stephens in the final of the Roland Garros, the Romanian must have wondered whether the tennis gods were frowning down upon her again.

Twice she had been beaten in title-round contests at the French Open, falling short in memorable three-set skirmishes against Maria Sharapova in 2014 and Jelena Ostapenko a year ago.

Stephens thoughtfully and methodically took command of the final, taking the first set stylishly, moving ahead 2-0 in the second set, leaving a seasoned Halep wondering what it would take to gain the upper hand and get across the finish line safely. To be sure, Halep was not in an enviable position, and it seemed entirely possible that victory on an auspicious occasion would elude her again.

And yet, Halep, dismayed though she may have been, She simply stuck assiduously to her task, looked for ways to disrupt the American’s rhythm, and took it one point at a time. With the vociferously pro-Halep crowd chanting her name and spurring her on, applauding her every move unabashedly, and willing her to victory.

Halep came through not only deservedly but, in the end, comfortably. She prevailed 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, sweeping 12 of the last 15 games for the single most satisfying triumph of her professional career.

No one is content to be No. 1 in the world without validating that status by securing one of the game’s highly-coveted Grand Slam tournaments, and Halep is no exception to that rule.

At the outset, however, she was thoroughly outplayed by a clear-eyed and sound practitioner in Stephens. It was Stephens who was the better defender, Stephens who found holes in the Halep game, and Stephens who seemed in control of her surroundings and of the tactical landscape of the match.

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