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Halep hungry for more glory

 

By Andy Sims

Simona Halep will head to Wimbledon having finally put to bed doubts about her big-game temperament.

The 26-year-old Romanian ended her grand slam drought by beating Sloane Stephens in the French Open final.

Halep had something of a reputation for caving in under pressure at key moments, never more so than in last year's Paris final when, from a set and a break up, she lost to unseeded Latvian Jelena Ostapenko.

This year the roles were reversed; Halep found herself a set and a break down against American Stephens, but came back to win 3-6 6-4 6-1.

She had finally got the monkey off her back, no longer the world's number one player without a grand slam to her name.

"It doesn't matter anymore," she said. "I'm really happy that I won this grand slam because being number one without a grand slam, I always said, is not like everything, not 100 per cent.

"Last year I was a little bit defensive when I was leading the match, and now I just change it in my mind.

"I said 'it's not going to happen again', and then when I started to win games I knew there was a chance to come back and win it.

"So I believed in that, and my game was more relaxed."

Halep's victory was met with a flood of congratulations from her peers on social media, a measure of her popularity within the game.

The likes of Karolina Pliskova, Petra Kvitova and Britain's Johanna Konta all toasted her landmark win.

"It's nice to see the players are happy about my victory and about this trophy," added Halep.

"We are like a family here, and it's nice to see that we are happy for each other.

"It's like positive things all over. And the fact that I was able to win maybe will give an inspiration also to Romanians, the kids, that it's possible, if you work and if you believe."

Belfast Telegraph

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