Maria Sharapova claimed her second Roland Garros title and fifth Grand Slam title by overcoming a determined Simona Halep in a three hour epic.
The first set was very tight, the opening four games were split 17 points apiece after 25 minutes. Sharapova would break away to a commanding 5-2 lead, winning 5 straight games. Halep did fight back to 4-5 but couldn't hold serve when it mattered most (perhaps the most important factor in this match). Sharpaova taking the set 6-4.
When Sharapova broke for a 2-0 lead in the second set it seemed she would run away with the match. Halep had other ideas, raising her game to a new level in the seconds set. Halep would twice serve for the set but was easily broken on each occasion. Her second serve was being punished by Sharapova and her first serve percentage wasn't high enough. At 4-2 in the tiebreak Maria was in total control of the match. Halep held her nerve, her consistency paid off as Maria started to falter.
After dropping the second set, Maria would take a 10 minute 'comfort break.' I must say I wasn't impressed with Sharapova's stalling tactics throughout the match. Sharapova was taking far longer than 20 seconds between points yet she didn't receive a warning until late in the match. Maria slowed Halep down when she was serving on a number of occasions, this was just plain cheating in my opinion. Despite all this Halep never lost her cool, which really impressed me.
At 2-1 Halep had two break point chances to go up 3-1 but was unable to convert. This seemed to be the turning point in the match as Sharapova went on to win 3 straight games for a 4-2 lead. Once again Halep would fight back just when it seemed like the match was over. For me the ninth game of the third set was always going to the most important with the scores level at 4-4. A dodgy call from the chair handed Sharapova the first point and Halep never recovered after that. Sharapova winning eight straight points to claim her second Roland Garros title.
It really was a wonderful final, arguably the match of the tournament. A tough loss for Simona but no doubt her time will come.