2018 French Open Final Review: Simona Halep wins her first Slam!

 

Simona Halep is a Slam champion! Rallying from a set and a break down, Halep beat Sloane Stephens, 3-6 6-4 6-1 in Saturday’s French Open final. I was out during the day and have just managed to catch up with the final having successfully (wow!) avoided the scoreline. Overwhelming thoughts right now – I am just so, so happy for Simona.

This result didn’t look likely early doors as Halep was up against it. Stephens was incredibly solid at the start of the match. She continued much in the same vein as her three previous matches as she soaked up pressure, moved well and injected pace off the potent forehand side. Halep was hitting OK but mostly flat and staying quite deep with no intent to come forward or at least step inside the baseline. Stephens was totally clutch and managed to fend off a break point to serve out the first set, 6-3.

Stephens quickly went up a break in the second set. I was starting to think it was curtains for Halep and I was already imagining the disappointment at the end. At *0-2, Halep actually came forward to finish a pair of points, both times successfully. I felt this was a huge turning point. Halep just looked more positive and began to target the Stephens backhand more and more.

Stephens suddenly started to miss balls that she wasn’t doing so in the first set. The American played a really ropey service game to lose her early break in the second set. Another significant point was a double fault where someone shouted out “Haide Simona” in between the first and second serve. Halep won four games on the trot. In what was a rollercoaster set, Stephens then won seven points in a row and got back to 4-4. I wasn’t expecting that!

Just like the Muguruza match, Halep played a huge service game at *4-4 where she was aggressive and went after her shots. Again, that proved to be crucial as Halep broke to force a decider. All four of Simona’s Slam finals have gone the distance…

I thought Halep was absolutely inspired in the third set. It was interesting how the pair switched roles as it was now Halep who was the more consistent and Stephens was the player making the errors, going for more and lacking patience. After the first two games, I thought Stephens actually played decent in the decider. The game that saw Halep secure the double break was incredible (see point below).

Halep served out her first Slam title and in style. Credit to Stephens for her sportswomanship at the end and a classy speech. Obviously this would have been a disappointment for Sloane but I kind of felt content for her having already won a Slam. This was the first loss that Sloane has experienced in a tour level final having gone 6-0 before today.

As mentioned above, i’m absolutely thrilled for Simona. She deserves this so, so much! She has kept on putting herself in the business end of Slams and this was her time. I was nervous for Simona coming into this final and even more so when down a set and a break. To turn the match around against an in-form Stephens is such an impressive mental effort. She didn’t panic and kept plugging away. All the near misses have surely made this moment even more special. I was losing it when Simona hugged Darren and then her parents. Wonderful scenes.

Simona’s a Slam champ! Big respect 💪💪💪

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25 thoughts on “2018 French Open Final Review: Simona Halep wins her first Slam!

  1. Exactly that game at 4-4 proved crucial in both pf her matches semis and finals that is. She is really showing some mental efforts for a couple of years, specially in GSs. I also thought That she has lost the match after going 2-0 down but definitely her willingness (or whatever anyone call it cause you never see her coming forward) to come forward changed the whole scenario of the match. She wanted it so bad and we love it that she’s wob it finally. Love you simo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very happy for Simona!!!!!!!!!!!!
    But………..the main reason she won the match was that I refused to watch the match. Being a certified jinx, if I had watched the match Simona would have lost…..100% for sure.

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  3. I agree with what’s been said; Simona’s justly very well liked amongst both tennis followers and commentators, who will surely feel a sense of relief now that she’s finally managed to win a grand slam (and at her favourite venue too, since she won the junior title at Rolamnd Garros ten years ago).

    After the final in Rome this year and her lukewarm showing against Elina (particularly in the first set of the match) I didn’t think that Simona had the right mentality to win in Roland Garros this year. When she went 2-0 down in the second set after Sloane had won the first one, I was even more convinced that she was going to lose once again.

    I’m very happy that I was wrong; and the chorus of congratulations from her fellow players, several of whom have yet to win a slam themselves, show in what high esteem she’s held in the game. I particularly liked Andrea Petkovic’s comment;

    Congratulations Simona! Just think of the celebrations in Romania now (and Simo’s home town of Constanta) too.

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  4. So, now that this has been settled, and rightly so, there are 4 players in the current top 10 without slams. Pliskova, Svitolina, Garcia and Keys. I hope they make plans for the Wimbledon and UsOpen. Make the year a first time clean sweep. Possible, no ??

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    • Excited for Wimbledon. Pliskova was heavily touted for Wimby last year but ran into Rybarikova in R2. I think this is Keys’s favourite surface so i’d have her as an outside contender. Garcia & Svitolina both made last 16 last year.

      Other players i’m watching closely for the grass – Kvitova, Kerber, Ostapenko, Vandeweghe, Barty, Osaka & Kontaveit.

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  5. Video on YouTube of Simona giving a speech before a crowd of about 20,000 in a Romanian football stadium to celebrate her FO win.
    This shows what an incredible star Simona is in Romania.
    (The only word I understood was…..tennis.)

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      • What surprises me is that any WTA player could draw a crowd of 20,000 simply to her her give a speech, and Halep appeared to speak well, as she got the crowd riled up on several times.
        Congratulations to the politicians that were smart enough to the arranged the event.

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  6. Good news from the Nottingham open for the British players; Katie Boulter, Jo Konta and Heather Watson are all safely through their first round matches. In Katie’s case I believe it’s the first time she’s won a WTA main tour match.

    Gabriella Taylor went out against Donna Vekic, but she did manage to take Donna to three sets· Katie Swan lost a close two-setter to Mona Barthel.

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  7. Big upsets at the Bosch
    Kontaveit (R #24) with a good record on grass lost to Kudermetova (R #170). I saw a small part of the match and Kontaveit looked uninspired.
    Zhang (R # 29) who does not have a good record on grass lost to Fabulous Fanny Stollar (R# 161).

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    • Kudermetova did well in Stuttgart I remember. Played a solid match vs. Pliskova. Not sure what is happening with Kontaveit, I heard that she parted ways with her coach and is now with Nigel Sears but not sure if that was confirmed?

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  8. Nottingham
    Doc Buz def Falconi 6-3,5-7,6-3
    At 4-5 in the 2nd set Doc Buz started yelling at the chair about bad calls at the far baseline. The chair said “What’s wrong with you” Doc Buz yelled that there were 4 straight bad calls at the far baseline. The chair said the balls were close, but out. Doc Buz appeared to sob loudly for the rest of the time out. I have never seen Doc Buz act like that, but she went on to win the match with no more yelling.

    The Bosch
    Kudermetova upsets Benic 6-2,2-6,6-3
    The Kud was up 5-0 in the 3rd and lost 3 straight games, but broke Benic in the final game to win.The Kud had to have a large strapping put on her right forearm during the 2nd set. She is averaging 10 aces a match.
    The Kud beat CSN at Stuttgart and gave Ka Plis a good run. Now at The Bosch she has beaten Kontaveit and Benic. Next up is Kunic who is also having a good run.

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  9. There was a nice moment during the presentation ceremony when both Sloane, and someone who I assume was her coach, gestured towards Simona with their hands to tell her to lift the trophy above her head so that the photographers could get a better look at it.

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  10. Kunic def Vandeweghe 2-6,7-6,7-6
    Kunic “The Crusher” is like a 50,000 lb steamroller smashing the competition, although she only weighs about 115 lb.
    Kunic is now in the finals at The Bosch.

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  11. Kind of funny
    At most of the tournaments the players walk out with a little kid.
    At The Bosch the little girl walking hand in hand with Kunic was BIGGER than Kunic!

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  12. Krunic def Flipkens 6-7,7-5,6-1
    This was one of my favorite matches of the year. Every shot in the book, angles,spins,drop shots,lobs,volleys, with the exception of 45 aces in the match. There was a lot of ebb and flow in sets 1 and 2, but Flipper appeared to run out of energy in the 3rd set. I realize most fans like the Big Basher tennis, but not me.
    Krunic “The Crusher” gets her 1st WTA tournament win.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Didn’t see the final in Nottingham but it looks like Jo, who lost to Ash, wasn’t very happy with one of the umpire’s decisions towards the end and apparently refused to shake his or her (told you I didn’t see it!) hand after the match. There could be some talk about that later on.

    It’s nice that they’ve named the trophy after Elena Baltacha, the British player who sadly died long before her time and of cancer.

    In other news; great win by Alex Krunic in the Ricoh Open! I always like it when smaller players do well, and she is deservedly popular with the other players on the tour.

    Liked by 1 person

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