Stephens Reaches Second Major Final, Halep into Third Roland Garros Final
(June 7, 2018) In a re-match of the 2017 US Open final, 10 seed Sloane Stephens beat 14th seed Madison Keys 6-4, 6-4 to make the final of Roland Garros, her second major tournament final out of the last three majors.
No. 1 Simona Halep, yet to win a major title is into her third French Open final beat 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza 6-1, 6-4. The victory insured the Romanian world remain atop the rankings at the end of the tournament.
It’s also Halep’s second straight major final, she lost in the final of the Australian Open to Caroline Wozniacki.
“I played again one of my best matches on clay,” Halep said after coming back from a break down in the second set.
“I think was very good level, the whole match, even if the first set was 6-1. She didn’t give up a point. So it was very nice to play like that. I’m really happy that I could beat a player like Muguruza. She’s a great opponent, a great player.
“And it’s always tough against her. I think I played very well. And even if I repeat it, I played the best match here. So every day I play better and that makes me happy.”
“It’s never easy playing someone from your country, let alone someone you actually, like, care about and you’re friends with,” Stephens said. “It’s very difficult. I think more when I do play Madi, it’s just — on the court it’s very competitive. We are always very competitive. But it’s a little weird. There’s not as much, “Come ons” and things like that. We have a lot of respect for each other. It’s a little different in that aspect. But I think we always compete well and play good matches.”
Stephens will become the top American woman in the rankings on Monday and reach No. 4 , No. 3 if she wins the tournament.
On her match against Stephens, Halep said: I know that she’s strong opponent. She’s hitting the ball. I will be similar to today. I will play my game against her, as I did last year. It’s clay. It’s different. It’s different match, different year. So I expect nothing. I just want to go there and try to keep my tactic and keep my positive things every second.”
“She’s won plenty of tournaments,” Stephens commenting on playing Halep. “She’s No. 1 in the world for a reason. I think that we’ll just have to go out and compete. Somebody’s going to win. Someone has to win. Someone has to lose. Just go out, give it your all, and whoever wins, wins.”
“I’m expecting her to compete,” Stephens added. “Obviously she’s No. 1 in the world. There is reason why she’s in the finals. I can’t give you a play-by-play on her game, but if you ask my coach he probably can.
“I think for myself I’ll just have a good game plan and just try to execute the best I can when I go out there.
“It’s just mainly about competing. No one is going to hand you the match. It’s a Grand Slam final. You have to go out there and get after it and make sure you play every point and try to execute your game plan as best as possible.”
Halep leads Stephens in their career head-to-head matches 5-2, winning the last four encounters.
More to follow…