By Liam Morgan |
World number one Simona Halep secured her first Grand Slam title as she fought back from a set down to beat US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the women’s singles final at the French Open.
The top seed ended her long wait for a Grand Slam crown as she recorded a 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory over her American opponent on the iconic red clay at Roland Garros.
The Romanian player, who had lost all three of her previous major finals, recovered from losing the first set and conceding a break in the second in a topsy-turvy encounter on the Philippe Chatrier court.
Halep then completed a gutsy comeback by racing away with the third set before heading into the crowd to celebrate with her support team.
“I did everything I could,” Halep, beaten in last year’s final by Latvia’s Jeļena Ostapenko, said.
“It was amazing and thank you for your support.
“In the last game I didn’t feel like I could breathe any more and didn’t want to repeat last year, so I cannot believe it.
“I was dreaming of this moment since I started playing tennis and I’m happy it happened at Roland Garros.”
Stephens, the 10th seed who beat compatriot Madison Keys to win her first Grand Slam at the 2017 US Open, started the better of the two players and quickly opened up a first set lead.
The 25-year-old looked on course for a second major title when she won the opener and broke Halep in the second.
Halep began to find her range and clawed herself back into the match before sending the final into a decider.
Stephens was no match for the Romanian in the final set as she reeled off consecutive games and clinched the title with a first serve ace.
In the men’s final, Rafael Nadal secured a record-extending 11th French Open title as he beat Austrian Dominic Thiem in straight sets in the men’s singles final at Roland Garros.
The world number two and top seed controlled the match from start to finish but did have to shrug off cramps in the third before wrapping up a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory.
The 32-year-old Spaniard has now won 17 Grand Slam titles during his career, three behind Switzerland’s Roger Federer.
His triumph on the iconic red clay in the French capital never looked in doubt as he produced another dominant display on his way to an 11th crown.
It also marked the first time since 1992 where the two top seeds had claimed the trophy in Paris after Romanian Simona Halep won the women’s final yesterday.
Thiem, the seventh seed tipped as one of the only players in the world capable of beating Nadal at Roland Garros, was competing in his first Grand Slam final.
“It was important to play the way I did,” said Nadal.
“It was a tough moment when I got cramp.
“He is a player who pushes you to the limit.
“Overall, it’s a dream to win 11 times.”
Nadal made an ominous start as he broke Thiem, who struggled to win a point in the early stages, at the first opportunity to establish a 2-0 lead.
The Austrian broke back to get himself back into contention but lost his serve at the crucial moment to hand Nadal the first set.
Although Thiem had his chances, Nadal kept up the pressure in the second before taking it 6-3.
Nadal’s main challenge in the third appeared to be a wrist injury but he returned after treatment from the trainer to close out yet another French Open victory.
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.