Stephens downs Keys to set up final with Halep

Stephens downs Keys to set up final with Halep

Stephens downs Keys to set up final with Halep

She improved in the second set, breaking early on only to be pegged back at 4-4 before Halep held a marathon ninth game and broke for a 6-1 6-4 win.

It was the ideal way for the Romanian to banish the demons of her painful final defeat by Jelena Ostapenko 12 months ago, when she blew a lead of a set and 3-0.

However, Halep is a two-time runner-up at Roland Garros - slumping to a defeat to Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova in the 2014 final before losing to Jelena Ostapenko past year. "I've been dreaming of this since I was 14".

American Sloane Stephens, the 10th seed, now stands between Halep and a first grand slam title. "It's not the trophy I wanted, but it's still lovely".

But by the third set Halep had broken the German's defences as she banged in 76 percent of her first serves, with only half the unforced errors of her opponent.

"I tried to not do the same thing as past year".

"I feel calm. I feel that I have to enjoy it today, the victory, because it was a great match".

"When you don't take your chances against the No. 1 in the world, you're in trouble".

But Keys, who made 23 unforced errors in the first set, hit back hard and set up a break point at 3-2, only for Stephens to save it with a service return victor. However, Halep is not reading too much into her impressive record against Stephens.

After a timid start, Stephens found her rhythm and took control of the opening set by breaking in the third game with a forehand victor down the line.

That match was also won, comprehensively, by Stephens for her first grand slam crown. But Stephens has found it tough going against Halep, who has won five of their seven previous matches - including the past four.

This was a less clear-cut victory but an early break of serve in each set put Stephens in control.

But Halep dug deep, squaring the final by winning the next two games, as Stephens fired a backhand wide on the first set point.

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