Stephens downs Keys to set up final with Halep

Elena Summers
June 11, 2018

"I believe I have the game to win".

Simona Halep needs no reminding of her record in major finals: 0-3.

Halep had arrived in Paris on a hot streak, reaching at least the quarter-finals in her last nine clay-court tournaments and losing only one set on her way to facing Kerber in Paris. "I've been dreaming of this since I was 14".

"It's been awesome here for me", said Stephens.

But by the third set Halep had broken the German's defences as she banged in 76 percent of her first serves, with only half the unforced errors of her opponent.

The 26-year-old celebrated her victory in a way usually seen at Wimbledon, climbing into her box to greet friends and family.

"I feel calm. I feel that I have to enjoy it today, the victory, because it was a great match".


But Keys, who made 23 unforced errors in the first set, hit back hard and set up a break point at 3-2, only for Stephens to save it with a service return victor.

But Halep wasted the chance with her 10th unforced error and Stephens made her pay, drilling an unreturnable backhand into the corner to wrap up the set after just 41 minutes.

After a timid start, Stephens found her rhythm and took control of the opening set by breaking in the third game with a forehand victor down the line.

That match was also won, comprehensively, by Stephens for her first grand slam crown. But Stephens has found it tough going against Halep, who has won five of their seven previous matches - including the past four. - Del Potro, after missing six break points in a tight first set against Nadal.

The American had tired irreparably, and it was her turn to fall 2-0 down at the start of the deciding set.

A nervous start from the Spaniard was immediately pounced upon by Halep for a break in the opening game.

Keys briefly rallied to pull one break back, but Stephens did not waste her second opportunity, sealing victory on her first match point with a glorious backhand victor down the line.

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