Reaches Last Eight And Ends U.S. Presence
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[June 03, 2014]
By Julien Pretot
PARIS (Reuters) - Romania's Simona Halep,
the highest seed left in the women's singles draw, outwitted American
15th seed Sloane Stephens to reach the quarter-finals at the French Open
with a 6-4 6-3 victory on Monday.
Stephens made too many unforced errors as Halep, the fourth seed,
won through to set up a clash with either 27th seeded former
champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia or Czech 23rd seed Lucie
With Romanian tennis great Ilie Nastase watching from the stands,
Halep worked the angles to unsettle Stephens, who struggled behind
her serve throughout.
Halep, who made her only previous grand slam quarter-final
appearance at this year's Australian Open, prevailed on the first
match point when Stephens, the last American in the women's singles,
sent a forehand long.
Halep's game was also far from perfect but the 22-year-old took all
her chances, converting the six break points she had.
"I think I managed very well the match. I opened the angles. I
wanted to make her run a lot on court. I think I played aggressive.
I dominated the match, I think," said Halep, who won the juniors'
title at Roland Garros in 2008.
"I didn't serve very well but I tried to return better and I did."
Stephens was often on the back foot and sometimes went for unlikely
winners as she failed to regain the advantage during long rallies.
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"It was a tough match obviously, but she has played pretty
consistent over the last, say, nine months," said Stephens, who has
reached the last 16 in her last six grand slam appearances.
"It's always tough playing someone who is really consistent and has
a lot of confidence and just plays a solid game. So it was
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Alan Baldwin/Mark Meadows)
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