Sloane Stephens may be one of the up-and-coming faces of U.S. women's tennis, but on Saturday, it was Romania's Simona Halep, the world's No. 1 female player, who looked a whole lot like, well, the world's No. 1 tennis player.
Down 3-6, 0-2 at one point in Saturday's final in the women's singles draw, Halep looked almost helpless against Stephens to start her anticipated match, as the American owned the first set. But it was a different story entirely as the second set went on: Stephens slowed down and Halep turned up the heat with an intensity that led to her first Grand Slam title with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 win.
The first Romanian to win a Grand Slam since 1978, the 26-year-old Halep not only redeemed herself after a January loss at the Australian Open but delivered on a career-long hunt for a Grand Slam title -- she was 0-3 in previous Grand Slam title trips, including ones where she led in deciding third sets. And her victory didn't lack for theatrics, as she looked dead set on a path to defeat after Stephens' hot start and yet left her opponent without any answers in a 6-1 closing set.
A year after losing a set-and-a-break lead in a final and four years after her French Open final debut against Maria Sharapova, Halep played stingy defense after falling behind 0-2 in the second set and made the best of some excessively long rallies, earning roaring cheers and "Si-mon-a!" chants from the Court Philippe Chatrier crowd.
Stephens had a valiant start in her quest to become the first American woman other than Serena Williams to capture two Grand Slams in one cycle since 2002. But Halep was as steady as she could be down the home stretch on Saturday, wearing Stephens down and running her ragged.
After the match, Stephens said the women's finals trophy "looks good" on Halep, admitting there's "no one else I'd rather lose to than the No. 1 in the world."
For a recap of all the highlights and results from Saturday's 2018 French Open women's final featuring Halep vs. Stephens, check out the the live blog below. If it isn't working,: