A nonchalant Simona Halep said “no one died” when asked about her miserable grand slam final record but more heartbreak in Paris on Saturday will surely be too much to take.
Three times Halep has suffered the agony of losing a major decider, two of those losses coming in the last 12 months.
Halep looked destined for an elusive first grand-slam title when she led surprise package Jelena Ostapenko 3-0 in the second set after winning the first in the French Open final 12 months ago.
— WTA (@WTA) June 8, 2018
Halep came agonisingly close again when she lost to Caroline Wozniacki in an Australian Open showdown in January, but has showed great character to lift herself following yet another major blow.
The Romanian has looked anything but haunted by her painful memories on the famous clay at Roland Garros, where she also lost to Maria Sharapova in her maiden grand slam final four years ago.
Halep made light work of beating Garbine Muguruza with a masterful semi-final display on Court Philippe Chatrier on Thursday to retain top spot in the rankings.
But it is not remaining world number one that Halep came to the French capital for.
The top seed must draw on her experience and rise to the occasion when she faces US Open champion Sloane Stephens on Saturday and she does not appear to be daunted by the challenge.
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 8, 2018
“For sure I will let it go, and I will not think about Saturday’s match.” the 26-year-old said after ruthlessly ousting two-time major champion Muguruza.
“Of course it’s a big opportunity, it’s a big chance, but you never know. So I lost three times until now and no one died, it will be okay. I think, more confident, because I have a lot of experience.”
“But in tennis, you never know, so I will stay chill.”
Stephens showed no mercy in beating close friend Madison Keys in a repeat of the final at Flushing Meadows and the steely American poses a huge threat to Halep’s quest to finally become as a grand-slam champion.