Halep Through To French Open Final
Published June 05, 2014 12:13
While her rivals for the title have tumbled, Halep has remained unflappable this fortnight, cruising through to her first Grand Slam semifinal without dropping a set. The Romanian has not been downplaying her chances either, exuding an air of quiet confidence ahead of her meeting with fellow major semifinal debutante Petkovic.
The Turning Point
In the early stages, Halep showed few signs of struggling with stage fright. In fact, she seemed to revel in the atmosphere on Chatrier. At 2-1, the Romanian went on a run that would see her win 12 of the next 14 points to take the set well beyond Petkovic's grasp.
The German, who has had to deal with more than her fair share of obstacles in recent years, set about the challenge of derailing the Halep juggernaut. Controlling the center of the court, she made it to deuce on the Halep serve at the start of the second, from where a forehand winner gave her a first break of the afternoon. The lead, though, was short-lived. Halep pegged her back to force a tie-break, where she ended the No.28 seed's resistance, firing a forehand into the open court on her first match point.
Halep is bidding to follow in the footsteps of her manager Virginia Ruzici, who lifted the Roland Garros title 36 years ago, and found it hard to conceal her excitement during the post-match interview.
"I'm very emotional and I feel amazing now knowing I will play the final here in Paris," Halep said. "Andrea was very tough and she is a good player, but I was a little bit stronger in the end and am so happy to get through.
"I tried my best and did everything I could to win this match and want to thank everyone here today, because you all helped me win. I have a lot of confidence in myself and am looking forward to the final now and hopefully playing another good match."
Prior to arriving in Paris, the Romanian had never been beyond the quarterfinals at a major, but she has been in superb form all fortnight and is the first player since Justine Henin, in 2007, to reach the final without dropping a set. There she will face 2012 champion Maria Sharapova, who beat her in last month's Madrid final.
"In Madrid I played really well, but in the second set I changed my style and was behind the baseline too much. I have to be aggressive against Maria. She's a great player, so I'll try my best and hopefully it will be a good enough!"