Simona Halep walked on to Philippe Chatrier Court on a mission – to challenge Maria Sharapova for her first Grand Slam title. The 4th seeded Romanian showed no nerves as she took a 2-0 lead in the first set, but the 7th seeded Sharapova fought right back to level after an 8 minute 4th game on her 4th break point. The next game was equally long and although the Roumanian had 2 advantage points, the Russian went to 3-2 and forged ahead to 5-2. Halep did not waver in hitting her shots and the fans were treated to wonderful tennis on both sides of the net – and she took the next two games to pull back to 4-5. Sharapova worked hard for every point with Halep sticking to her like glue, but she eventually took the set 6-4 in 57 minutes.
The long rallies continued in the second set with both players using the entire court and hitting some amazing winners. This set it was the Russian who went 2-0 up before the Romanian levelled. Sharapova served three double faults in the 5th game, but still managed to hold and the next two games also went with serve. Halep saved two break points to hold in the 8th game before Sharapova then went ahead 5-4 after the longest rally of the match – 20 shots. The set then went to a breaker after breaks on both sides of the net and after Sharapova led in the early stages, Halep came back at her to level at 5-5 and take it at 7-5 after the Russian sent a ball way out of court.
Sharapova went off court for more than seven minutes and came out to break Halep in the first game of the decider. After serving two doubles and having a time warning on her serve, Sharapova allowed Halep to break back and then hold. Sharapova battled to hold on her second advantage point after another 8 minutes game to level. The Russian took the next two games and so did the Romanian. Sharapova broke to lead 5-4 and served out to love for a 6-4 set and her second French Open title after 3 hours and 2 minutes. Halep got a standing ovation after playing a fantastic match against the very experienced Sharapova – she was clearly the crowd favourite and will be a slam winner very soon.
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