Halep wins maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros

Source: Xinhua| 2018-06-10 09:38:08|Editor: ZD
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Simona Halep of Romania kisses the trophy after the women's singles final against Sloane Stephens of the United States at the French Open Tennis Tournament 2018 in Paris, France on June 9, 2018. Simona Halep won 2-1 and claimed the title.(Xinhua/Luo Huanhuan)

PARIS, June 9 (Xinhua) -- Women's singles world No. 1 Simona Halep claimed her maiden Grand Slam title after beating Sloane Stephens in full sets, while Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut triumphed in the men's doubles final at the French Open on Saturday.

"When I was 14, I decided to be a professional tennis player. Since then, I was dreaming for these moments. I was dreaming to win a Grand Slam," said Halep after lifting her first ever Grand Slam trophy.

Halep extended her winning streak over her American opponent to five matches after clinching the final victory by 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, following her previous two heart-broken final appearances at Roland Garros, losing to Maria Sharapova in 2014 and Jelena Ostapenko in 2017.

Both players held their serves in the first three games, before Stephens finished her break in the fourth to move in front and built a 4-1 lead midway through the first set.

Halep failed to have her own response for breaking, and had to concede the opening set at 6-3.

The top-ranked player slid away further after being broken at the start into the second set to see herself two games down.

Stephens, however, began to lose her quality in returning, and Halep took advantage of that to win four games in a row.

Stephens tied the score at 4-all after the eighth game, but Halep managed to force into the decider with 6-4.

Then Halep was unstoppable spurting to a 5-0 lead in the decider, and she never appeared to be contested en route to her maiden Grand Slam title.

"She raised her game and level. Not much you can really do about that. I competed the best I could, and the better player won the match today," explained Stephens, who came across the net to congratulate on her opponent's ice-breaking title.

"She's had a tough journey. I think winning here is very special for her and I'm glad she finally got her first slam. It's a beautiful thing, very special," said Stephens.

Already the 2008 Roland Garros girls' singles champion, she became the sixth player to have won the women's singles title in Paris after winning the girls' singles title. She has retained her world No. 1 ranking by reaching the final.

Halep also became the second Romanian woman to win a Grand Slam title following Virginia Ruzici's triumph at Roland Garros in 1978. Ruzici witnessed Halep's victory from the stand, and accompanied her compatriot at the press conference.

"I'm a Grand Slam champion, but tomorrow is a new day, so I have to start again," said the newly-crowned Grand Slam champion.

Stephens was sidelined 11 months due to foot surgery, before claiming her first Grand Slam title at last year's U.S. Open.

"No matter how hard the adversity that you go through, there is always light at the end of the tunnel, and I'm glad she finally got her light," Stephens pointed out.

Stephens saw her previous perfect record in tour-level finals in career snapped by Saturday's loss, while being destined to move up to fourth at latest WTA rankings after reaching the final, the first time for her to break into Top 5.

Herbert and Mahut got past Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic 6-2, 7-6 (4) in lopsided crowds' support for men's doubles title.

On Sunday, Spaniard Rafael Nadal will battle for his record-extending 11th men's singles title at Roland Garros against Austrian Dominic Thiem, the only player having beaten the "King of Clay" on clay this year.

Japanese duo of Hozumi Eri and Ninomiya Makoto will face Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, both of Czech Republic, in women's doubles.

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KEY WORDS: Grand Slam