Tennis Podcast: What French Open finalist Sloane Stephens is really like

Halep vs Kerber

Halep takes on Kerber for the 10th time in her career Credit Reuters

Simona Halep looking to break major duck "Looking ahead at Saturday's final, other than the Americans in the house, the crowd is going to overwhelmingly support Halep".

Halep was my pick to win the French Open before the tournament, even though I picked against her in the Muguruza match.

Halep said afterewards: 'In the last game I felt that I could not grip [the racket] any more, so I just tried not to repeat the past year. We've lost a lot of money picking her to win in finals only to look like a different player in the last match.

Take a look at some of the best tweets after Halep's hard-earned victory. Plus, now that she has a Grand Slam win at her back, you can not predict Halep to be the outright victor just yet. "I just want to enjoy this moment".

Stephens, the ninth American woman to contest a Roland Garros final in the Open Era, won eight of the first nine rallies finished after more than nine shots. "(It) shows me that I have enough patience, I have enough power inside to stay calm", Halep said.

In two rain-interrupted men's quarterfinals that were suspended on Wednesday evening, No. 1 Rafael Nadal completed a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 comeback over 11th-seeded Diego Schwartzman, and No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro defeated No. 3 Marin Cilic 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5. Similar to Halep, Stephens too had an easy outing in the second semifinal as she maintained her ideal record against fellow American Madison Keys with a 6-4, 6-4 win on Thursday in a repeat of last year's US Open final.

But Stephens has had a steely determination about her since fighting back from injury and a ranking of 957 less than a year ago, and will have nothing to lose.

The 2008 Roland Garros girls' singles champion learnt a harsh lesson previous year against Jelena Ostapenko, when she played not to lose from 3-0 up in the second set.

"She raised her game", Stephens said.

Stephens was obviously disappointed after losing the first final of her professional career but she accepted she was second best on the day.

The Romanian failed to consolidate it, however and misdirected three forehands to help Stephens break back at love to 3-4. When Sloane Stephens's last service-return bid had struck the net, Halep finally had freed herself of whatever goblins had come and lurked from three prior Grand Slam finals that went both long and melancholy. "We don't have to forget that, we have to be aware of that, but also not give too much importance to that otherwise it can get in your head and it's not helping".

When Halep ended a 14-stroke point by pushing a backhand wide, Stephens owned the first set.

But from 0-2 down in the second set, Halep was able to change the flow of the match.

"To Simona, congratulations on your first Slam". The semi-final will have added stakes as the victor will become the women's world number one.

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