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10 June 2018, 12:47 | Pamela Mathis
French Open 2018: Simona Halep beats Garbine Muguruza to reach final
Having worked her way into a strong position in the point Halep netted a straightforward backhand and let her off the hook. She had to go out and win it with A-level tennis, and she did exactly that.
Halep has lost six of her last seven final appearances overall and is 0-3 in grand slam final appearances for her career.
On a day of hot sun and high temperatures, Halep simply had too much for her opponent, particularly with points contested from the back of the court. Oh, and she gets to stay as world No.1, whatever happens.
The 26-year-old Romanian had gone 0-3 in her previous three major finals. At the Miami Open in March, she won the title, beating four major champions in a row. "I'll come here Friday, have a hit, have lunch here, go to my room, watch TV, wait till dinner, have dinner, go to sleep".
Stephens will give it her best shot but Halep is the favorite for a reason.
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But she feels confident: 'I have more experience now. "One of the things I always say, I feel like women, especially, should bring each other up".
It was the flawless way for the Romanian to banish the demons of her painful final defeat by Jelena Ostapenko 12 months ago, when she blew a lead of a set and 3-0.
She did manage to make Stephens serve for the set, though, and was stepping into the court with more authority, bringing up her first break point.
Keys has reached the second week in nine of her last 11 Slams.
Halep said afterewards: 'In the last game I felt that I could not grip [the racket] any more, so I just tried not to repeat the a year ago. Although Halep leads the head to head matchup, this is the final of a Major.
Halep has been in fine form so far at Roland Garros and eased past former victor Garbine Muguruza 6-1, 6-4 in the last four - a victory which also ensured she will remain the world number one at the end of the tournament. In the victory, Halep won 61 percent of her first serve points and 50 percent of her second serve points. I'm backing Halep to win in three sets. Although Halep has worked on her mental toughness for just this moment, I don't believe she has any weapons to really hurt Stephens.
"Life came at me fast after the U.S. Open", said Stephens, whose late father, John, was the 1988 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year with the New England Patriots.
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