Simona Halep wins French Open 2018, her first Slam title

Catch all the updates from the French Open Women's Final where Simona Halep takes on Sloane Stephens.

A combination of photos shows Simona Halep (left) and Sloane Stephens, the French Open 2018 finalists.   -  AFP

Hello, Good evening and welcome to Sportstar's LIVE updates of the French Open final. We have the top seed, Simona Halep meeting the 10th seed Sloane Stephens for the French Open title. Tune in to see who will be crowned the Queen of Clay!

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We have Simona Halep, the 2018 French Open Champion.

The top seed has done justice to her billing. She lost the first set but took her game to a different level in the next two to emerge victorious. For Stephens, it is a lesson on how to overcome jitters and keep composure in majors.

This is the moment Simona Halep will remember for long.

 

Simona Halep becomes the first Romanian to win a Grand Slam in 40 years since her mentor Virginia Ruzici won Roland Garros in 1978.

8.45 pm: Stephens buries the ball into the net and Simona Halep wins the French Open 2018. Her first Grand Slam title.

8.41 pm: Stephens just manages to hold on and crawls back at 1-6. This might just feel that she is a little late in her fight back.

8.34 pm: It is 5-0 for Halep. She is just minutes away from her first Grand Slam title. Stephens is just breaking apart, a stark contrast from how she was in the first set.

8.31 pm: Stupendous play from Halep. She had everything right. Drop shots to winners to covering the court. She breaks Stephens again and is now coasting along at 4-0.

Sloane Stephens has a mountain to climb now.

8.24 pm: What a game. What a rally and it ends when Stephens hits one into the net, again. Simona Halep goes 3-0 up in the decider.

8.20 pm: Stephens finds the net and that is just enough for Halep to go 2-0 up. What a break and the top seed is in control now.

8.16 pm: Halep steps on the gas and comes back from love-30 down to hold her serve in the third. 1-0 for the Romanian.

There is some support for the top seed!

 

We have a decider now.

8.06 pm: And, it is Simona Halep with the second set 6-4. Stephens is broken again as Halep takes her game to the next level and dishes winners, and Stephens sends it wide more than once, to win the second. A set of breaks this has been.

8.00pm: After high forehand goes long, but Halep dares to attempt another one and gets it right. The Romanian hangs in the set by clinching the game with another cross-court forehand right on the line. It's 5-4 for Halep.

7.56 pm: All Stephens needed was one winner, one point to draw level but she goes wide on two occasions to give jitters. And Halep helps the American by sending one way beyond the baseline. It is 4-4 now.

7.52 pm: Just as I completed the earlier update, Stephens proves it wrong and breaks Halep to love. The top seed sends a couple wide, down the line and is broken easily. She is back at 3-4 in the set.

Simona Halep is back with extra intensity while Sloane Stephens lets it down, a bit.

7.50 pm: Halep is back in form. Stephens helps the top seed's cause by spraying shots wide and Halep breaks Stephens to take a 4-2 lead in the second set. This is going down all the way!

7.45 pm: Halep takes the lead, for the first time in the match. She leads 3-2 but Stephens will be on serve next.

7.42 pm: The top seed is back in form. She breaks Stephens to love and draws parity at 2-2 in the second set.

7.39 pm: Halep finds her element and crawls back into the game. She doesn't let Stephens take the upper hand and keeps her shots in control to draw 1-2 in the second set.

7.35 pm: Stephens holds her serve and is now 2-0 up. She is in a hurry to wrap it up. Halep leaves a lot of space vacant and Stephens exploits it to the maximum and tops it up with elegant winners.

7.31 pm: Sloane Stephens breaks Simona Halep's serve in the first game of the second set and goes 1-0 up.

7.28 pm: The slug-fest in the second set starts. Both the players aren't letting the intensity come down. Halep with the first service game.

Talk about nerves in a Grand Slam final and the young American looks composed while her Romanian opponent is spraying it all wide, both the nerves and the shots!

7.23 pm: Stephens takes the two points and wraps up the set. Unforced errors have done the top seed in. Sloane Stephens wins the first set 6-3.

7.21 pm: A stupendous rally by both the players and Halep now has a break point. Minutes later, Stephens gets it to deuce.

7.17 pm: A neat service game by Halep. She wins with minimum fuss. Sloane now would be all set to wrap up the proceedings in the first set.

7.14 pm: Halep serving to stay alive in the set. She trails 2-5.

7:06 pm: Sloane consolidates the lead by holding her service game. Score: Stephens 4-1. 

7:02 pm: Halep nets her forehand and Stephens gets her break at the first opportunity. Sloane Stephens leads 3-1.  

Good time to read about what Stephens had to say about psychological advantage here.

7.00 pm: It's on serve so far. Sloane is looking strong, so Halep will have to be at her absolute best to set straight her record in Grand Slam finals.

6.50 pm: Halep manages to hold on to her service game. If the first two games are any indication, it is going to be a close contest.

6.45 pm: Stephens takes the first game with minimum fuss. A lovely winner down the line sealing it.

6.41 pm: We are underway. Sloane Stephens to serve first.

6.40 pm: There is no big rain threat today and we hope for an uninterrupted action.

6.38 pm: Sloane Stephens, irrespective of whether she wins or loses, will jump to number 4 in the WTA rankings.

6.35 pm: The players are out on the court and are in all readiness. So are we and we hope you are too!

This is what they are playing for:

 

You can join and predict the winner.

 

6.20 pm: The players are in their final warm-ups. Get ready for an exciting clash.

Sloane Stephens will be looking for a second Grand Slam title after her US Open win last year while Simona Halep would be itching to add her first Slam trophy in her cabinet.

What they said:

“It’s always a special moment to qualify in the final of a Grand Slam. It's a great moment. It's the best moment in your career, because the Grand Slams are the most important tournaments.” - Simona Halep

"There are no words to describe how I got here, the process it took or anything, because if you told someone this story, they'd be, like, that's insane." - Sloane Stephens

Twelve months ago Sloane Stephens was ruled out of Roland-Garros with a left foot injury.Today, she competes for the crown.

6.00 pm: Who holds the edge? Let's find out.

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In case you missed out on what Halep and Stephens have been saying ahead of the matches, you can read them here:

Stephens rejects talk of psychological edge over Halep

Muguruza backing Halep for French Open glory

Halep must grasp another major opportunity