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08 June 2018, 02:24 | Tracey Rhodes
GETTYSerena Williams has withdrawn from the French Open
Halep had to come back from a break of serve down in the second set and fend off three break points at 4-4 before finally closing out the victory, which guaranteed that she will remain No. 1 in the rankings after this tournament. "I just went and searched for her in the training room", Stephens laughed in her press conference following her quarter-finals. And then when we get on the court, it's time to compete.
"In the past few years, I used to take this into account, and I shouldn't have taken it so much to heart". "Not long after I heard Serena told a friend, who then told me, 'I'll never lose to that little bitch again'".
Muguruza had thrashed Maria Sharapova in the quarter-finals but Halep was a different proposition entirely, and it seemed she knew it.
Muguruza, considered the slight favourite by many, handed her serve over in the first game with a double fault on break point and Halep raced 5-0 ahead in the opening set. I will play my game against her, as I did previous year.
The American pair have contrasting styles, with Stephens' game based on her athleticism and ability to get many balls back, while also turning defence into offence fairly quickly.
Just like she wowed the tennis world with her summer past year, Stephens is enjoying a strong spring that started with her winning the title in Miami. Had Muguruza won, she would have moved up to No. 1 when the new rankings come out next week.
"I think the book was 100 percent hearsay, at least all the stuff I read and the quotes that I read, which was a little bit disappointing", said Williams, who played in her first Grand Slam since giving birth past year.
Halep, who has lost all three of her Grand Slam finals - including the Australian Open, to Caroline Wozniacki, in January - arrived in Paris on a hot streak, reaching at least the quarter-finals in her last nine claycourt tournaments and losing only one set on her way to facing Kerber in Paris.
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