4th time's the charm: Halep tops Stephens to win French Open
PARIS (AP) — Maybe all of those losses in Grand Slam finals helped Simona Halep actually win one.
She'd gone 0-3 in matches with a major trophy on the line before facing Sloane Stephens for the French Open title today, so there was plenty to remember: what it felt like to give a lead away, to make a key mistake, to walk away with regrets.
"All the experience from those three finals that I lost ... was a positive thing," Halep said, "and gave me a little bit more power to believe."
Halep added Grand Slam trophy No. 1 to her No. 1 ranking, coming back from a set and a break down to beat Stephens 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 and win the championship at Roland Garros in a match made up of long points and key momentum swings.
"That's the most important thing – that I stay there focused," said Halep, the first Romanian to collect a major title since her manager, Virginia Ruzici, at the 1978 French Open. "I believed. And I never gave up."
The 26-year-old Halep was describing this particular match. She could have been speaking about her career.
Halep lost two previous finals at Roland Garros – against Maria Sharapova in 2014, then Jelena Ostapenko in 2017 despite leading by a set and 3-0 in the second. Her third runner-up finish came against Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open in January.