Simona Halep into third French Open final, vows to erase 2017 heartbreak

Lawrence Cooper
June 8, 2018

Despite being the number one seed, the Romanian Halep has yet to win a Grand Slam title having also lost this year's Australian Open final to Caroline Wozniacki in January. After sitting out almost a year because of an injured right foot that needed surgery in January 2017, she has soared up the rankings and now made it to her second major final in the past ninth months.

Simona Halep, the current incumbent, has never won a grand slam, while her opponent Garbine Muguruza won Wimbledon a year ago to add to her 2016 Roland Garros title.

Muguruza had lost all three previous times she faced Sharapova, whose five grand slam titles include two at Roland Garros.

Such impressive data from this match has led to Muguruza being chalked up as a [1.89] favourite over Halep, and I want to discuss why I think this is an utterly freaky line.

She improved in the second set, breaking early on only to be pegged back at 4-4 before Halep held a marathon ninth game and broke for a 6-1 6-4 win. Three-time Grand Slam runner-up Halep now is the only thing standing between Stephens and a second major crown.

It was a gutsy hold which proved pivotal in the match - and, if Halep goes on to win the final, in her career.

Following her 70-minute defeat to Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 6-1 in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros on Wednesday, the Russian spent a portion of her press conference addressing criticism made by her rival about her autobiography, in which Williams claimed the book was "100 percent hearsay".

"So doesn't matter who is playing against". I'm playing well, in a good space.

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Since beating Golden State in the 2016 NBA Finals, the Cavs have lost six of seven Finals games against the Warriors. James said he wasn't mad at the coaching staff, but frustrated that they could have had a chance for another play.

"I'm happy that I can have another chance". "I just try to keep that going".

"I started in the first set not matching her level", said Muguruza, the reigning Wimbledon champion.

A win at the Miami Open in April seemed to turn things around, but she followed that by failing to advance past the third round in each of her next four tournaments. "I think I've developed a lot as a tennis player".

For Muguruza, the two-time major will rue her missed break point opportunities, converting just two of eight compared to Halep's six of 10.

Stephens struck with the crucial break in the opening set in just the third game as a searing forehand clipped the outside of the line. "So I didn't really know what to do. I played again one of my best matches on clay".

Thoroughly and clinically outplayed by Muguruza in every respect, Sharapova looked uncomfortable and off-balance for most of her brief stint on court and had a particularly deflating second set in which she logged two winners to 15 unforced errors.

Regardless of the result, the 25-year-old Stephens will become the first American to break into the top five in the WTA rankings since Lindsay Davenport - Keys's coach - in 2006. "I think my body will need a little bit of rest, but mentally I'm ready to go", said five-time major victor Sharapova.

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