Stephens denies Keys revenge, reaches French Open final

Halep vs Kerber

Halep vs Kerber

"I rushed too much at the beginning", Halep told a news conference.

"In the last game I couldn't breathe, I just didn't want to repeat what happened the other years". I have just to play.' And then when I started to win games, I said that previous year happened to me, same thing, I was set and a break up and I lost the match.

Stephens, 25, was bidding for her second Grand Slam title following her success at the US Open in September - a title she claimed just six weeks after she was ranked 957th in the world having had 10 months out with a foot injury. Honestly, I could not believe.

"She's done a very nice job of being able to put some disappointments behind her and get back to work and keep looking for improvements", her coach, Darren Cahill, said. "I'm really happy that I could beat a player like Muguruza".

In the first all-American Roland Garros semi-final since 2002, the 10th-seeded Stephens stayed composed throughout as Keys, who has not won a set against her in three meetings, peppered the court with unforced errors.

"After not playing for 11 months, I've had some great results", said the American, who has a flawless 6-0 record in finals.

Halep, who has lost all three of her Grand Slam finals - including the Australian Open, to Caroline Wozniacki, in January - arrived in Paris on a hot streak, reaching at least the quarter-finals in her last nine claycourt tournaments and losing only one set on her way to facing Kerber in Paris.

Thursday's action at Roland Garros saw Sloane Stephens impressively account for her American counterpart, Madison Keys, in straight sets, but arguably the standout display was from Simona Halep, as she tore through Garbine Muguruza in a brutal opening set, before coming through at the end of the second for a 2-0 victory.

Halep knows she needs to counter Stephens' high-tempo game and use spins and angles to remain consistent from the baseline.

"I was up against a great player so I had make sure I brought my best tennis". If not, you have the second and the third sets of today's match, it speaks for itself.

"I tried to not do the same thing as a year ago". She's hitting her stride, and though it's come later than many thought, Stephens' prime might be now. Stephens continued to press Halep's backhand but the World No.1 dictated the pace on that side from the second set. The markets grossly over-rated Muguruza following her win over Maria Sharapova, and with this in mind, it was extremely pleasing that the Romanian picked up an emphatic victory, and bookends a relatively successful campaign for us, from a women's perspective.

The Romanian failed to consolidate it, however and misdirected three forehands to help Stephens break back at love to 3-4. She's been here twice and it has been an unsavoury ending both times.

Nearly exactly 12 months ago, Simona Halep was on the brink of her first major title.

The 26-year-old had to wait for her 32nd appearance at a Grand Slam event to win one at last.

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