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Imperious Halep battles back to claim elusive first major

106   //    09 Jun 2018, 20:50 IST
French Open champion Simona Halep

Simona Halep fought back to beat Sloane Stephens and claim an elusive first grand-slam title with a courageous French Open final performance on Saturday.

Three times the world number one had failed to win a major decider and she looked set for further agony before coming from a set and a break down to win 3-6 6-4 6-1 at Roland Garros.

Runner-up in Paris for the second time last year before suffering an Australian Open final loss to Caroline Wozniacki in January, the persistent Halep was not to be denied in Paris.

The top seed raised her game after struggling with her forehand in the opening set, becoming the first Romanian woman to win a grand slam 40 years after Virginia Ruzici's triumph at the same event.

US Open champion Stephens will be in the top five for the first time next week, but there was to be no second grand slam title after she lost for the first time in a Tour-level final, having won the previous six.

Halep has now gone the distance in every major final and she was finally rewarded on Court Philippe Chatrier, claiming the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen with an inspired comeback.



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