Romania’s Simona Halep wins Roland Garros final

Maria Sharapova and Garbine Muguruza

Last year, the 26-year-old Romanian squandered a set and 3-0 lead to lose the Paris title match to Jelena Ostapenko.

Two French Open finals and one Australian Open final have been the closest she's come to claiming one of the four biggest prizes on the tennis calendar, and despite many thinking Serena Williams dominates the sport, there had been a different victor of all of the last six women's Grand Slam's before the latest French Open.

She then held serve to lead 5-0 while Stephens held to make it 5-1 leaving Halep to serve for the title.

"In the last game I didn't feel like I could breathe any more and I didn't want to repeat past year, so I did everything I could".

Sloane Stephens said she could not be satisfied but was still proud of herself after losing a French Open final that was all about recovery and resilience, on both sides of the net.

Halep managed to save three break points, including one with a powerful forehand victor down the line, but the Romanian dropped her serve on Stephens' next chance when she could not properly return a clever lob from her American rival.

Romania's Simona Halep in action during the final against Sloane Stephens of the US, Roland Garros, Paris, France, June 9, 2018. I think winning here is very special for her and I'm glad she finally got her first Slam.

While the crowd are likely to get behind the world No 1 Halep, Stephens' nerveless approach to her game could prove a tough obstacle to clear.

"Show the world your trophy", Stephens said when asked what she had told the victor. "I just had to play my game and have fun".

After the 2016 Rio Olympics she spent almost a year sidelined with a foot injury and did not play at last year's French Open.

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Halep turned the screws in the decider to grab a break and then another to lead 4-0 - another explosion of noise greeting a sensational point in which Halep chased a drop shot down and was then equal to Stephens' attempted lob with a backhand smash.

Having never gone beyond the fourth round at Roland Garros before this year, she made a strong start against Halep.

But she could not breach the defence of the composed Stephens, who was barely deviating from her stock position two yards behind the baseline, and it was the American who secured the break for 3-1. Halep looks for the second title of the year and her 17th title of her career.

Paris - Sloane Stephens took aim at media "haters" on Saturday after reaching the French Open final, claiming she does not receive the respect she deserves.

I'm really happy that I won this Grand Slam. "But I will be, I think, more confident, because I have a lot of experience".

Muguruza settled down in the second set, moving 2-0 ahead before Halep levelled in the eighth game. Halep has also won both encounters played on clay in straight sets, including beating Stephens in the fourth round here in 2014.

That's just what she did, as she used her court awareness and athleticism to take control of the match and gain her first Grand Slam title.

Prior to Saturday, the victor of the first set had won 43 of the past 46 women's major finals.

A little more than four months later, Halep is feeling quite a bit better.

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