It's all true, Sharapova hits back at Serena

Sloane Stephens was in fine form as she became the first American outside of the Williams sisters to reach the French Open final since 2001. She's a great opponent, a great player.

Halep outlasted German Angelique Kerber 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 6-2 in a reprise of the pair's epic Australian Open semi-final. Although Halep leads the head to head matchup, this is the final of a Major. So I think that's why I won today. "My head won it".

However, the 10th seed has done something Halep has not - win a grand slam final.

Following her 70-minute defeat to Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 6-1 in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros on Wednesday, the Russian spent a portion of her press conference addressing criticism made by her rival about her autobiography, in which Williams claimed the book was "100 percent hearsay".

Just like a year ago, Simona Halep goes into the French Open final as the favourite to win her first Grand Slam title. But in tennis, you never know, so I will stay chill'. "A lot of emotions, like 'am I ever going to be the same?" "I have recognised more things I have needed to do". I don't know what I will change.

Kerber eventually prevailed in a tiebreak, but Halep came out all guns blazing in the second, firing baseline bullets at her opponent, who tried to cling on against the onslaught. She lost eight consecutive matches, several of them to relatively unknown players.

The US Open was Stephens' first appearance in a Grand Slam final.

She fought back from a set down against Maria Sharapova in 2014 only to lose a tight decider, before seeing a set and 3-0 lead disappear in a barrage of Jelena Ostapenko winners past year.

While Halep focuses on herself, Stephens will focus on denying the Romanian a first Grand Slam title, and establishing herself as a threat on all surfaces. "I will stay chill and relax, and then we will see what is going to happen Saturday, but for sure I will fight for every ball", said Halep, who maintained her top position in the WTA Rankings following Thursday's win.

Here's something the women who meet for the championship at Roland Garros do have in common: They rarely seem to let a point end quickly. "I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon", Sharapova wrote. This time, she needed only 70 minutes to eliminate Sharapova and dominated her with superb returning, breaking the former No. 1 a half-dozen times.

She improved to 3-0 against her longtime pal and Fed Cup teammate Keys, including their US Open final last September.

"I don't want to think about that because, as I said many times, it's a different match, different situation".

But she feels confident: 'I have more experience now. I think my shots were a lot more forced.

"I'm happy", she said, "that I can have another chance".

According to ESPN Stats & Information, the last woman to win the French Open without dropping a set was Justine Henin, who did so in back-to-back years in 2006 and 2007.

Sharapova, 31, was broken in the opening game of the second set which she immediately retrieved. She ended up with six double-faults and 27 unforced errors, 12 more than Muguruza.

Vanessa Coleman

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