Simona Halep defeated American Sloane Stephens 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the women's final at the French Open on Saturday to claim her maiden major honor. Halep becomes the first Romanian Grand Slam winner in 40 years.
Simona Halep described her French Open final victory as a "dream come true." She finally won a Grand Slam title after losing her three previous finals.
"It's very emotional. I've been waiting for this moment since I was 14," she told the crowd after lifting the trophy up in the air, then kissing it. "I wish to play another final here because this court is my favorite one."
The 26-year-old had to wait for her 32nd appearance at a Grand Slam event to win one at last. She had played two finals in Paris before, losing to Maria Sharapova in 2014 and then to teenager Jelena Ostapenko in heartbreaking fashion last year.
By claiming the prize, Halep becomes the first Romanian to win a major since Virginia Ruzici, who also won in Paris, in 1978.
"I see guys up there with the Romanian flag," she said. "Thank you to my family and friends, my brother of course, the Romanian people and the French people too for their fantastic support."
Stephens had started far stronger, outlasting the world number one Halep in lengthy rallies, where she controlled a majority of the points, to force errors and take a first set advantage.
The Romanian was staring at a fourth major final defeat as she conceded an early second set break to Stephens, who won the US Open last year, but then turned the match on its head.
"This is not the trophy I wanted but it's still beautiful," said Stephens, who will enter the world rankings at a career-high number four on Monday.
mds (AP, Reuters, AFP)