runner-up at French Open
Erin Maher | June 9, 2018
2017 US Open women’s champion Sloane Stephens fell to world No. 1 Simona Halep, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, on Sunday in the 2018 French Open final.
Stephens, ranked No. 10 in the world, dominated the first set, winning 70 percent of the points on her first serve. The American was up a break in the second set, when Halep bounced back, adjusting her game to gain the momentum and eventually win the match in a little over two hours.
"To Simona, congratulations on your first Slam. It looks great on you," Stephens said to Halep during the trophy presentation. "No one else I'd rather lose to than the No. 1 in the world.”
While the finish might not have been what Stephens desired, it’s a far cry from where the Florida native was only a year ago.
In the summer of 2017, Stephens’ ranking plummeted to No. 957 after she suffered a right foot injury that kept her from playing for 11 months. ADVERTISEMENT Within a six-week period of her return, Stephens took home her maiden Grand Slam title at the 2017 US Open, defeating compatriot Madison Keys in the final and making her the fifth unseeded woman to win a Grand Slam tournament in the Open era.
Stephens is the first American woman other than Venus or Serena Williams to reach the French Open final since Jennifer Capriati in 2001. After her run in Paris, she will ascend into the Top 5 in the world when the new rankings are released on Monday.