French Open final LIVE: Simona Halep vs Sloane Stephens
Simona Halep faces Sloane Stephens in the women’s singles French Open final today and you can follow the whole match live right here.
Halep is the No 1 seed and favourite to win a maiden Grand Slam title after losing three previous finals.
The Romanian has come up short twice at Roland Garros already (in 2014 and 2017) as well as the Australian Open final this year.
As for Stephens, she is seeking a second Grand Slam title following last year’s US Open triumph.
The American, 25, has never reached the Roland Garros final before and beat compatriot Madison Keys 6-4 6-4 in their semi on Thursday.
The match starts at 2pm BST today.
Follow the women’s French Open final live below.
Sloane Stephens laboured at the start of the third set
French Open final LIVE
[* denotes server]
SIMONA HALEP WINS THE FRENCH OPEN
Simona Halep 3-6 6-4 6-1 Sloane Stephens*
A stunning ace down the T from Halep makes it 30-15. Stephens hits back, however, with a lovely forehand to the right of her opponent.
Halep then advances to make it 40-30 and set up championship point, smashing a winner at the net.
Can she end a three-final hoodoo in Grand Slams? YES! Stephens nets her service return and Halep drops her racket and breathes a huge sigh of relief!
Simona Halep 3-6 6-4 5-1 Sloane Stephens*
Stephens, 15-30 down, slams down a serve to draw level in the game. She then pushes Halep along the baseline and the Romanian fires wide for 40-30.
The game heads to deuce however as Stephens volleys into the net going forward. A better volley – this time with the forehand – hands Stephens the advantage. And she holds moments later.
*Simona Halep 3-6 6-4 5-0 Sloane Stephens
halep holds to 15 and the championship is now just one game away.
French Open final LIVE: Halep got the early break in the third set
Simona Halep 3-6 6-4 4-0 Sloane Stephens* – BREAK
Stephens claims the first point but then tries a backhand drop shot, trying to find a different way around Halep’s defence. It doesn’t work. 15-15.
But her next effort does! A drop shot brings Halep forward, and Stephens then pushes her opponent wide before finding space for the winner.
Halep forces deuce and then goes for a winner for advantage. It clips the net cord and Stephens fluffs her return. Then, in the next rally both players end up at the net and Halep dispatches a overhead backhand to break again!
*Simona Halep 3-6 6-4 3-0 Sloane Stephens
Another winner from Halep at 30-30 and the Romanian is closing out on a vital hold here. A long, relentless rally follows with neither player looking to find a winner, simply knowing it back. Eventually Stephens nets with a low backhand.
French Open final LIVE: Halep burst back to win the second set
Simona Halep 3-6 6-4 2-0 Sloane Stephens* – BREAK
Stephens finds herself 15-30 down but thunders a forehand left of Halep to level the game up. The American then goes for backhand down the line, seemingly misjudging the bounce, and it’s wide! Break point for Halep… is won! Stephens nets and Halep has daylight now.
*Simona Halep 3-6 6-4 1-0 Sloane Stephens
Halep moves ahead for the first time in the match. She’s nailing her winners whereas in the first set all Stephens had to do was wait for the mistakes.
Simona Halep 3-6 6-4 Sloane Stephens
Both players head off court to change their shirts. It’s muggy and humid out there in Paris today.
A fight to the end.@Simona_Halep rebounds to capture the second set 6-4. Don’t go anywhere.
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 9, 2018
HALEP WINS SECOND SET
Simona Halep 3-6 6-4 Sloane Stephens* – BREAK
We’re heading to a third set! halep went toe to toe with Stephens there and took her chance, pushing the American one way before firing a forehand the other. The crowd leap to their feet as Halep punches the air.
*Simona Halep 3-6 5-4 Sloane Stephens
Halep comes to the net at 30-30 and clips home a winner. She then nails a flat forehand and Stephens cannot dig out.
Simona Halep 3-6 4-4 Sloane Stephens*
The crowd are loving this. halep tries to find her form again on the baseline but Stephens glides across the clay, returning shots and waiting for the mistake. She holds.
*Simona Halep 3-6 4-3 Sloane Stephens – BREAK
Stephens claims the first two points. Then another for three break points. Halep’s first serve ripples the net. Stephens attacks the second and gets her reward!
French Open final LIVE: Stephens broke at the start of the second set
Simona Halep 3-6 4-2 Sloane Stephens* – BREAK
What a turnaround from Halep. Lingering shots of Stephens trying to work out what’s going on here. Halep breaks to 30.
*Simona Halep 3-6 3-2 Sloane Stephens
Stephens just cannot answer Halep as the Romanian wins to love again. That’s 10 points in a row now.
Simona Halep 3-6 2-2 Sloane Stephens* – BREAK
Just what Halep needed! She breaks to love and suddenly we have a match on.
*Simona Halep 3-6 1-2 Sloane Stephens
A well-worked winner from Halep, coming forward to smash home, makes it 40-15. Stephens gets a point back but Halep eventually holds.
French Open final LIVE: Sloane Stephens won the first set
Simona Halep 3-6 0-2 Sloane Stephens*
A routine hold for Stephens, waiting for Halep to blink in the baseline rallies.
*Simona Halep 3-6 0-1 Sloane Stephens – BREAK
This final is running away from Halep now as she is broken in the first game of the second set! Stephens finally wins it after three break points are saved.
STEPHENS WINS FIRST SET
Simona Halep 3-6 Sloane Stephens*
Halep muscles her way to deuce. What a time to show some spirit! She had break point but Stephens held firm.
A massive serve from the American opens up set point. And she wins it with a backhand on the angle that Halep cannot return.
Simona Halep began the match as the favourite
*Simona Halep 3-5 Sloane Stephens
Halep holds but Stephens is gearing up to serve for the set now.
Simona Halep 2-5 Sloane Stephens*
Stephens twice pages Halep back as her opponents seeks a vital break. And the American then nails a winner for 40-30. She serves out the game with Halep grinding the ball into the net.
*Simona Halep 2-4 Sloane Stephens
Halep holds to 30 after Stephens drew level following two winners from the Romanian. Stephens is certainly the more aggressive returning serve.
Simona Halep 1-4 Sloane Stephens*
Wow! Halep defends as much as she can but Stephens is calm and collected and dispatches a winner down the line. The crowd love that.
Halep works her way back to 40-30 but then nets a service return for the hold.
French Open final LIVE: Simona Halep is seeking a maiden Grand Slam title
*Simona Halep 1-3 Sloane Stephens – BREAK
Stephens is enjoying plenty of success attacking this Halep serve. She goes for the second serve at 30-30 and picks out a winner. Break point for the American… and Halep nets!
Simona Halep 1-2 Sloane Stephens*
The ball goes wide from Halep and Stephens has two chances to hold. She wastes the first – a long forehand – but gets the second as Halep nets.
*Simona Halep 1-1 Sloane Stephens
Stephens forces deuce in Halep’s first service game as the world No 1 goes long 40-30 up.
Advantage Halep and we descend into a long rally. Halep eventually wins it as Stephens plays a weak forehand, gifting her opponent a chance to come forward and smash, which Stephens then cannot return.
Simona Halep 0-1 Sloane Stephens*
Boom. No messing around from Stephens as she holds the first game of this French Open final to 15.
14:03: Both players are on court now for the coin toss. Halep wins the toss and chooses to receive first.
French Open weather forecast
As the players enter the court to prepare for their warm-ups, it’s worth noting the weather forecast for today.
Mercifully, after a drizzly two weeks in Paris, the rain is expected to stay away this afternoon.
We’re expecting clear skies and 27c in the French capital.
Rain is predicted later today but the forecasters reckon that there is only a 40 per cent chance of that happening, around 7pm.
French Open prize money
The stands are starting to fill up on Court Philippe-Chatrier ahead of the French Open final.
Just to let you know the winner at Roland Garros today will earn a staggering £1.93m.
That’s not a bad earner for two weeks of tennis!
Sloane Stephens has earned just shy of £7.5m during her career.
As for Simona Halep, she has picked up a staggering £17.9m from prize money on the WTA Tour.
Simona Halep French Open final preview
Simona Halep reckons she can handle the pressure of competing in a Grand Slam final, having lost her previous three.
“I don’t know who said that I feel pressure. Not me, obviously. I don’t feel pressure,” Halep said.
“I feel that it’s a big challenge for me. It’s a big chance to win my dream tournament.
“But this doesn’t mean it’s going to happen or something like that. It’s a normal match I play against these opponents.
“So we will see what is going to happen, but I just want to be smiling on court.”
French Open final LIVE: The famous Suzanne Lenglen cup will be presented to the winner
French Open final LIVE: Simona Halep is the top seed at Roland Garros
Sloane Stephens French Open final preview
Discussing today’s final, Sloane Stephens said: “After not playing for 11 months, I’ve had some great results.
“Obviously a lot of hard work went into it, a lot of adversity, a lot of ups and downs. A lot of emotion, wondering am I ever going to be the same? Am I ever going to play good again at a high enough level? Am I a protected ranking?
“I think now I’ve matured a little bit and have recognised the opportunities when they have been presented.
“The most important thing is that I have taken those opportunities.”
Simona Halep vs Sloane Stephens head to head
Simona Halep boasts a W5 L2 record over Sloane Stephens.
Halep’s first victory came on clay in Barcelona back in 2012, where she beat the American 6-4 6-4.
These players have never met in the final of a tournament and last faced each other in 2017, when Halep won their Cincinnati Masters semi 6-2 6-1.
Stephen’s two victories over Halep came in quick succession, beating the Romanian in two sets in Hobart and then the Australian Open in 2013.
French Open final LIVE: Sloane Stephens is seeking to add to her 2017 US Open triumph
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the women’s French Open final.
Simona Halep is seeking a maiden Grand Slam title, having lost three previous finals.
She is the favourite to beat Sloane Stephens but it is the American who has the Grand Slam pedicure, having won the US Open last year.
Follow all the action with Express Sport from 2pm.