2018 French Open: Simona Halep Wins Maiden Grand Slam Title
World No.1 Simona Halep has won her maiden Grand Slam title after defeating American 10th seed Sloane Stephens.
The 26-year-old reached the French Open final for the third time, after coming up short in the 2014 and 2017 finals against, Maria Sharapova and Jelena Ostapenko.
Sometimes history finds a way to repeat itself with the addition of an unforeseen quirk, to fashion the happiest of new chapters. So it was for Halep in the final of Roland-Garros 2018.
One year ago on Court Philippe-Chatrier, she led Ostapenko by a set and a break, only for the Latvian to turn the match on its head and break her opponent’s heart.
Twelve months on, Halep found herself a set and a break down to Sloane Stephens, looking down the barrel of her fourth defeat in a Grand Slam final.
She didn’t much like the view.
With the weight of global expectation on her shoulders, Halep forced her way back, past an opponent playing with the freedom of one who has already exceeded expectation by reaching the final.
This time, the Romanian would not be defeated, pushing on through exhaustion all the way to victory.
Halep won 3-6 6-4 6-1. The world No.1 is at last a Grand Slam champion.
“It was amazing and I felt your support,” Halep told the crowd during an on-court interview.
“In the last game I felt I cannot breathe any more. So I just tried not to repeat the (outcome from) last year.
‘’So I did everything I could, it’s amazing what is happening now.
‘’Honestly I cannot believe it. I was dreaming for this moment since I started to play tennis. I’m really happy that it’s happened in Roland-Garros in Paris. My special city.”
“It’s always tough to play against her. She was very strong on court,” Halep reflected. “When I was down a break in the second set I said OK, everything is gone, I just have to start to relax and to enjoy the match. And I came back.”
Halep’s victory makes her the first Romanian woman in 40 years to win Roland Garros, after Virginia Ruzici in 1978, and marks 10 years since she lifted the Junior title here in 2008.