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Simona Halep beats S. Stephens to claim French Open glory
10 June 2018, 12:24 | Pamela Mathis
Maria Sharapova and Garbine Muguruza face off for a place in the French Open semi-finals on Wednesday
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. "I think he showed that at the start of the match Rafa was very nervous and you have to keep his head under the water, and that's what DelPo couldn't do today", said Mouratoglou.
Halep became the first woman from Romania to claim a Grand Slam title since her current manager, Virginia Ruzici, won the French Open 40 years ago.
Take a look at some of the best tweets after Halep's hard-earned victory.
"In that last game I felt that I cannot breathe anymore. Not me, obviously. I don't feel pressure", she said on Friday.
She had lost her previous three finals, including to Jelena Ostapenko in Paris a year ago. "In tennis, you never know, so I will stay chill".
The American, who will break into the top five for the first time when the new rankings are released on Monday, broke Halep in the fourth game before taking the first set after 41 minutes.
"This is not the trophy I wanted but it's still handsome", Stevens said after collecting the silverware as the runner-up.
The Romanian also lost the 2018 Australian Open final, against Caroline Wozniacki, but she will have the support of tennis fans around the world willing her on to win a first career Grand Slam title. Stephens, on the other hand, showed no signs of nerves in her one Grand Slam final win in NY previous year.
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And when Saturday's fourth chance arrived, Halep began slowly, unable to solve Stephens, the 10th-seeded American who won her first Grand Slam title at last year's U.S. Open.
She persevered through a battle to hold serve and go up 5-4. "I competed the best that I could and the better player won the match today".
Stephens started the game aggressively but Halep was able to hold her own to start with. "There's not as much, "Come ons" and things like that".
But just as the set was slipping away from Stephens, a series of unforced errors by Halep gifted the break back for 4-4.
"It's never easy playing someone from your country, let alone someone you actually, like, care about and you're friends with", Stephens said. When Sloane Stephens's last service-return bid had struck the net, Halep finally had freed herself of whatever goblins had come and lurked from three prior Grand Slam finals that went both long and melancholy.
The world number one was in impressive form as she put the Spaniard to the sword with a 6-1 6-4 victory. It started to pay a dividend and the Romanian forced a break point when Stephens served for the set. But in the end, she couldn't quite overcome Halep's excellence.
'Congratulations on your first Slam. The all-American semi-final between Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens was one-sided but I thought it was still an important step in the development of Keys.
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