"Not the trophy I wanted", Stephens said, looking at her runner-up plate, "but it's still handsome".
American Sloane Stephens made the most of her opportunity at last year's U.S. Open. Honestly, I can not believe it.
Halep is bidding to become only the second Romanian woman to win a Grand Slam after 1978 French Open champion Virginia Ruzici, who is now Halep's manager and had a special ceremony on Court Philippe Chatrier earlier this week to commemorate her victory 40 years ago. She lost the title match to Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open in January.
When Halep ended a 14-stroke point by pushing a backhand wide, Stephens owned the first set.
From the beginning of the match, the 10th-ranked Stephens was clearly superior on her serve, and offered resistance on Halep's. "I don't want to think about that.it's a different match, different situation", she said.
While the crowd are likely to get behind the world No 1 Halep, Stephens' nerveless approach to her game could prove a tough obstacle to clear.
During the trophy ceremony, Stephens - more experienced in such matters, given her triumph in NY last September - noticed that Halep was casually holding her new silver trophy.
"I was dreaming about this moment since I started to play tennis". "I should've changed my game when I noticed she was changing hers". It was a physically grueling encounter as Halep stayed her steadiest and served her first ace of the match to take a 30-15 lead in the seventh game of the third.
The duo have played each other seven times previously with Halep winning on five occasions including their last meeting at Roland Garros in 2014. After sitting out almost a year because of surgery on her right foot in January 2017, she has soared up the rankings and now made it to her second major final in the past nine months.
Halep reads the game beautifully and flows around the court with a rare grace, and her quest for a Grand Slam title underscored her steely side.
It was the first set that the Wimbledon champion had dropped at Roland Garros this year.
Simona Halep managed to make a comeback and win the second set.
The frustration of being behind seemed to spur Halep on and she reeled off four straight games as the level of Stephens, indeed the whole match, went down from what was seen in the first set. It's my favorite Grand Slam. Halep has been on the cusp of winning Slams before, but she has cracked mentally on every occasion, losing all three of her finals in three sets.
It hasn't all been plain sailing since, though, as she suffered a severe hangover after her NY triumph and failed to win in the rest of 2017.