Halep to take on Stephens in final

Romania's Simona Halep plays a forehand return to Spain's Garbine Muguruza during their women's singles semi-final match on day twelve of The Roland Garros 2018 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on June 7, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Thomas SAMSON

Top seed Simona Halep reached her third French Open final on Thursday with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over former champion Garbine Muguruza.

Halep, the runner-up in 2014 and 2017, will face Sloane Stephens who dismantled her fellow American Madison Keys 6-4, 6-4 in Saturday’s final.

Her victory over third seed Muguruza also means she will retain the world number one ranking next week. “I am really happy that I won the match, it was very important for my mind and I gave it all I had,” said Romanian star Halep.

After racing through the first set, Halep saved three break points in a marathon ninth game of the second which lasted 13 minutes.

“I think I played one of my best matches on clay against a great opponent,” added Halep, who will be appearing in her fourth final at the majors having also been beaten in Australia in January. “I was 2-4 down in the second set but I knew I had to fight for every ball, push her back and play the way I did in the first set.” 

The 24-year-old Spaniard stopped the rot in the sixth game before Halep quickly reasserted her authority.

In the first all-American Roland Garros semifinal since 2002, the 10th-seeded Stephens stayed composed throughout as Keys, who has not won a set against her in three meetings, peppered the court with unforced errors.

Regardless of the result in the final, the 25-year-old Stephens will become the first American to break into the top five in the WTA rankings since Lindsay Davenport - Keys's coach - in 2006.

"It's always hard to play someone from your country and such a good friend, but I'm happy I played my tennis," Stephens said.

"This is one of my favourite tournaments and I'm looking forward to Saturday. Merci Paris, je t'aime."

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Halep to take on Stephens in final

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