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Simona Halep Finally Wins First Grand Slam, Claims French Open Championship

By Fitzgerald Cecilio
on Jun 11, 2018 08:53 AM EDT
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Simona Halep
World No. 1 Simona Halep won her first Grand Slam trophy with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 triumph over Sloane Stephens. Halep became the second Romanian to win a Grand Slam trophy, behind her current manager Virginia Ruzici. (Photo : Wikimedia Commons)

World No. 1 Simona Halep captured her first Grand Slam trophy after beating American Sloane Stephens, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, in the finals of the French Open on Saturday. The 26-year-old Halep needed two hours and three minutes to overcome a tough challenge from Stephens and to become the second Romanian to win a Grand Slam title.

Halep's current manager, Virginia Ruzici, was the first Romanian who made her mark in a Grand Slam event, capturing the French Open trophy four decades ago. Halep also became the fourth woman to bag a first major title after grabbing the No. 1 ranking, joining the ranks of Kim Clijsters, Amelie Mauresmo, and Caroline Wozniacki.

Before winning her first Grand Slam crown, Halep made it to the finals of three Grand Slam events. She made it to the finals of the French Open twice, losing to Maria Sharapova in 2014 and Jelena Ostapenko in 2017. In January of 2018, she reached the final of the Australian Open, but lost to Wozniacki.

"It's a special moment. I was dreaming for this moment since actually I started to play tennis," Halep tells the media after her win over Stephens. "I always said that if I'm going to win one, I want it to be here. It's real now," added Halep.

Halep's Amazing Comeback

However, Halep had to work hard to accomplish the task as she lost the first set and trailed 0-2 in the second set before launching an amazing comeback against Stephens. The 25-year-old American raced to a 3-1 lead in the opening set after breaking Halep in the fourth game.

Trailing 5-3, Halep had a chance to break Stephens' serve and make it a close fight. However, Halep made a crucial unforced error before Stephens wrapped up the first set by winning three straight points.

In the second set, Stephens broke Halep's serve and held her own serve to grab a 2-0 lead. Halep then bounced back, taking the next four games to storm to a 4-2 advantage.

Stephens managed to tie the set at 4-4, but Halep toughened up in the next two games to claim the second set. There's no stopping Halep in the third as she opened with a 4-0 lead and never looked back en route to her first Grand Slam title.

Stephens' Effort Went Down The Drain

Stephens was the first American aside from Venus Williams or Serena Williams to reach the French Open final since Jennifer Capriati captured the crown in 2001. It was a frustrating finish for Stephens, who suffered her first loss in a tournament final after going 6-0 in her past tournaments.

"Not the trophy I wanted, but it's still beautiful," Stephens says, referring to the runner-up plate.

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