"I was dreaming of this moment since I started to play tennis", she told the crowd minutes later. But Stephens, who had reached only one major semi-final before her injury woes, could do just that by beating Halep in Saturday's final to add to her US Open crown from a year ago. "No matter how hard the adversity that you go through, there is always light at the end of the tunnel, and I'm glad she finally got her light".
Take a look at some of the best tweets after Halep's hard-earned victory. "I missed a lot at the beginning of the match".
"She's done a very nice job of being able to put some disappointments behind her and get back to work and keep looking for improvements", her coach, Darren Cahill, said.
Halep had lost her previous three Slam finals, including two at Roland-Garros, but outlasted the American to finally break her duck. "I just want to enjoy this moment".
Stephens spoke about Halep's rally after the first set.More news: Xi, Modi Hold Bilateral Talks in China, Agree to Improve Ties
"After not playing for 11 months, I've had some great results", said the American, who has a ideal 6-0 record in finals.
Stephens managed to land a couple of late blows, but Halep confidently served it out, sealing victory on her first match point when her opponent netted a return.
"I will try my best", Halep told the crowd at Court Philippe Chatrier, "and hopefully I will be better than past year". Similar to Halep, Stephens too had an easy outing in the second semifinal as she maintained her flawless record against fellow American Madison Keys with a 6-4, 6-4 win on Thursday in a repeat of last year's US Open final.
She elected to receive and looked nervous from the start as Stephens easily held in the opening game. She's been the best player week-to-week on tour since Serena Williams took her pregnancy leave. Stephens has dropped just one set this entire tournament and has been playing extremely clean tennis, making very few mistakes. "I wish in the future to play more finals here, because it's a really handsome tournament and it is my favourite one".
World number one Halep made a slow start, misfiring on her first serve and spraying her groundstrokes wide early on in a duel that lasted more than two hours, before steadily wearing down her opponent. When I was down a break in the second set I said: 'OK, everything is gone. This feels like it's finally her time.
Halep led by a set and a break in last year's defeat by unseeded Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, and said she used the experience of being on the wrong end of that fightback to help her turn around Saturday's match.
'Congratulations on your first Slam.