Halep to face Stephens in third shot at French Open final

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

And when I lost the game, I said, Okay, I have four more until she gets back.

Simona Halep said she had to be "mentally very strong" to battle back from a set and a break down to end her wait for a Grand Slam title in Saturday's French Open final. I think Halep's ability to retrieve balls will keep her in the match but not lead her to a win. Honestly I can't believe it.

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.

During the trophy ceremony, Stephens - more experienced in such matters, given her triumph in NY last September - noticed that Halep was casually holding her new silver trophy.

Stephens indicated to Halep she should raise it proudly overhead.

Stephens, 25, showed her class afterwards, saying: "Congratulations Simona on your first slam, it looks good on you".

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Simona Halep has lifted the French Open trophy and says she "just tried not to repeat the same as previous year". "It's very hard. I think more when I do play Madi, it's just - on the court it's very competitive". I just tried not to repeat the a year ago [Halep lost the 2017 French Open final].

Halep's victory was one of the most popular for many years at Roland Garros and at times during the match the support for the 26-year-old was deafening.

There was no doubt entering Thursday's semifinals that there would be an American woman advancing to the final of the French Open.

She had reached a championship match three different times, and each time she had come up short.

Halep is more emotive on court and her tenacity has earned her an army of fans.

Following her French Open defeat to Simona Halep, Sloane Stephens gave the media a reminder of her achievements in Paris. When she beat Julia Goerges to advance to the quarters, it was her first quarterfinal appearance at a major tournament since 2013 Wimbledon.

Prior to Saturday, the victor of the first set had won 43 of the past 46 women's major finals. "I think that it has helped me".

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Halep, who was beaten in the 2017 final despite holding a set and 3-0 lead against Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, kept up the momentum in the third set today to open up a 5-0 lead before earning a match point with a raging smash.

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

She yearned for a Grand Slam title to go with her WTA ranking.

A hold to love meant Halep had taken eight unanswered points, and another break followed as Stephens' levels dipped for the first time in the match.

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

A crunching Halep backhand at 30-30 in the ninth game proved too much for Stephens as Halep crucially held and in the next game Stephens put a tired backhand wide to lose the set.

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