PARIS, June 7 Russia's Maria Sharapova took the first set of the French Open final 6-4 against Romanian fourth seed Simona Halep on Saturday.
The seventh seed, chasing her fifth grand slam title and second at Roland Garros, was 2-0 down before using her forehand to telling effect and winning five games in a row.
Halep, hoping to become the second Romanian woman to win a grand slam title after her manager Virginia Ruzici won at Roland Garros in 1978, broke in the first game when Sharapova sent a backhand long despite having an open court at her disposal.
Sharapova unsettled Halep with her crosscourt shots but the wily Romanian held on for 2-0.
The Russian bombarded Halep with powerful forehands and managed to break back for 2-2 on her fourth chance when Halep's crosscourt backhand went wide.
Sharapova's third double fault gave Halep another break point, which the Russian saved with another forehand winner down the line before holding for 3-2 after four deuces.
The Russian broke for 4-2, went to 5-2 and then lost two games before taking the set on her opponent's serve when Halep fired a crosscourt forehand wide. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Alan Baldwin)