French Open: Sloane Stephens rejects talk of psychological edge over Simona Halep


Sloane Stephens does not believe her superior record in grand slam finals gives her a psychological edge over Simona Halep ahead of their meeting in the French Open showpiece.

Stephens booked her place in the final by defeating compatriot and close friend Madison Keys 6-4 6-4 in a repeat of the US Open final, in which she also prevailed 6-3 6-0.

That win gave Stephens her first grand slam title, an honour world number one Halep is still waiting for despite appearing in three finals.

Halep has fallen twice at the final hurdle at Roland Garros and finished runner-up to Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open this year.

But Stephens does not think their contrasting records in finals will have an impact on Saturday’s contest – her eighth with Halep, who won five of the previous seven meetings.

Asked if she believes she holds a mental edge over Halep, Stephens told a media conference: “No. She’s won plenty of tournaments. She’s number one in the world for a reason.

“I think that we’ll just have to go out and compete. Somebody’s going to win. Someone has to win. Someone has to lose. Just go out, give it your all, and whoever wins, wins.”

Stephens has won all three of her meetings with Keys, but did not find the experience of playing a close friend as easy as she has made it look.

“It’s not easy. It’s never easy playing someone from your country, let alone someone you actually, like, care about and you’re friends with,” she added.

“It’s very difficult. I think more when I do play Madi, on the court it’s very competitive. We are always very competitive. But it’s a little weird. There’s not as much, ‘Come ons’ and things like that.

“We have a lot of respect for each other. It’s a little different in that aspect. But I think we always compete well and play good matches.”

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