PARIS, France, Jun 9 – Key points in Saturday’s French Open women’s final between top-seeded Simona Halep of Romania and Sloane Stephens, the 10th seed from the United States:
— Match preceded by rousing applause and standing ovation inside Court Philippe Chatrier for Maria Bueno, the former Wimbledon and US championship winner who died Friday after a long battle with cancer. She was 78.
— Stephens strikes first with break in fourth game for a 3-1 lead as Halep nets forehand.
— Halep wastes a break point and Stephens pounces by converting set point off a Halep backhand error.
Key statistics: Stephens first serve percentage 71%; Halep 62%
Stephens percentage first serve points won 77% to Halep’s 56%
Top tweet: “OMFG HELLOOOOOOOO! That point was sick!!!” — former player Rennae Stubbs after a lengthy rally in the fifth game
— A barrage of big hitting from Stephens gives her three break points in the first game. Halep saves them but wilts on the fourth when she can only balloon a forehand wide.
— From 0-30 down, Stephens confirms the break for a 2-0 lead.
— Relentless Halep assault retrieves the break for 2-2 followed by quick hold for 3-2 on back of nine successive points.
— A rollercoaster of a set sees Halep break for 4-2 but hand it straight back. Back on serve at 4-3.
— Halep seals the set when a weary-looking Stephens fires backhand wide.
Key statistics: In match so far, Halep winners/unforced errors 13/21; Stephens 11/30
Top tweet: “Sometimes when u play straight down the middle vs Sloane Ranger can be effective as she likes to strike on the move more.” — ex-player and coach Brad Gilbert
— Halep holds and breaks for 2-0 as Stephens struggles to stay with the pace.
— A chorus of ‘Si-mo-na, Si-mo-na’ rings out as the Romanian holds for 3-0
— Break for 4-0 as Halep’s greater fitness and claycourt craft pays off after another exhausting rally. Not surprisingly another hold follows for 5-0
— As clock ticks past two hours, Stephens holds for 1-5
— Final is over when a smash sets up match point which is sealed by return into net.
Key match statistics: Halep winners/unforced errors: 18/26; Stephens 16/39
Top tweet: “this is some good freakin tennis ya’ll #rg18 #Halep vs. #Stephens.” — US player Irina Falconi