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The pair produced some superb rallies as they showcased why they're two of the best movers in the women's game, but Halep could not break down her nerveless opponent when going on the offensive. Halep also seems to be mentally strong, not allowing mistakes to leak into her game and pointing to her head after big points, knowing she has to stay focused.
Stephens briefly looked out on her feet, but raised her game by shortening the points to break straight back before levelling the set at 4-4, helped by the first ace of the match.
The 10th-seeded Stephens' opponent in Saturday's final will be Simona Halep, who emphatically ended the impressive French Open run of 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza by defeating her 6-1, 6-4.
The world number one had lost all three of her previous major finals, including two at Roland Garros, but staged a thrilling comeback to win after two hours and three minutes.
Halep, meanwhile, is 0-3 with a Grand Slam trophy at stake. On one side of the net will be Sloane Stephens, a player who at this time past year was not even entered in tournament draws due to her foot injury.
When Sloane Stephens's last service-return bid had struck the net, Halep finally had freed herself of whatever goblins had come and lurked from three prior Grand Slam finals that went both long and melancholy. Stephens looks to win her second title of the year and her seventh title of her career.
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The 26-year-old played a scintillating deciding set in which she made only five unforced errors, breaking her major duck in style.
Halep wins her first grand slam and remains the top player in the world.
"There is a lot of times where I feel like she made the ball by a centimetre", Keys continued, "and I was missing it".
Stephens, who was facing the ignominy of a third-set bagel, managed to get on the board with a hold in the fifth game of the decider, but Halep was not to be denied. She led Jelena Ostapenko by a set and 3-0 in last year's final at Roland Garros.
But from 0-2 down in the second set, Halep was able to change the flow of the match.
Halep is still chasing her first Grand Slam title. "So I just have to be calm and keep trying". I think I played very well. Halep is a three-time runner-up at majors, including in Paris in 2014 and 2017. "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". I don't think you have to be mean in order to win matches.
Simona Halep and Sloane Stephens will fight it out for their first title at Roland Garros on Saturday, in what's a tough match to call.
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