After a timid start, Stephens found her rhythm and took control of the opening set by breaking in the third game with a forehand victor down the line. Halep nonetheless rallied and won a thrilling ninth game, one that saw her save three break points with some fearless hitting. I'm happy to play the final again at my favourite grand slam. "I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon", Sharapova wrote. I will play my game against her, as I did previous year.
"I lost three times until now and no one died", Halep said, "so it will be OK". It was yet another example of just how commanding the 24-year-old former French Open champion can be when she's keeping self-doubt at bay.
However, Halep proved the steadier player in the remainder of a tie which featured a total of 99 unforced errors and 12 breaks of serve. "Just one of those days where I think she played incredibly well".
"I think that I have done really well, but I'd like to keep going", she said. She's won 59.6% of service points, compared to 59.0% for Muguruza, and won 51.9% of return points, an edge of 4.3% over her rival today.
Muguruza's last stand came at 4-all in the second set, a 13-minute game in which she held three break points.
But by the third set Halep had broken the German's defenses - and her resolve - as she banged in 76 percent of her first serves, with only half the unforced errors of her opponent. I think she's clear on who she's playing. "It is a very tough day, because, you know, it's one of those matches where you train so hard, you know, to achieve a Grand Slam final". "When I'm talking about progression or looking back at the weeks, I think there are a lot of good things, like the way my body has handled the long matches that I have played, the back-to-backs". As she told the press after her quarterfinal win, "There were times when I had to go back and hit a higher ball, where maybe before I would have tried to hit a line-drive victor".
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