Simona Halep winning Roland Garros was a testament to how she has built her game and character. Having lost her first three Grand Slam finals, two of which were in Paris turning up in 2018 months after a heartbreaking loss to Caroline Wozniacki in Melbourne was a tough challenge…
Four years prior in 2014 the Romanian lost 4-6 7-6 4-6 in a close battle with Maria Sharapova, three years later was stunned from a set down as she lost to Jelena Ostapenko.
Winning Roland Garros in 2018 was a big ask mentality and physically but Simona was incredibly strong, I watched all of her matches and it was tense because I wanted her to do it soo much but it was an incredible nerve from the Romanian and the match against Angie Kerber in the quarter finals that told me she was ready to win it.
On route to this match Simona came in as world number one and top seed and had some difficult players in her way.
R1 – 2-6 6-1 6-1 v Alison Riske
R2 – 6-3 6-1 v Taylor Townsend
R3 – 7-5 6-0 v Andrea Petkovic
R4 – 6-2 6-1 v Elise Mertens
Halep may have dropped her first set of the tournament but then bulldozed her way to the quarterfinals before having to reign it in and really measure her tennis against an excellent Angie Kerber.
Simona knew it was going to be a big tester of her credentials to win this against a former major champion and she was in a battle immediately.
Halep found herself down a break early on and that stayed throughout the first set until Halep fought back from 4-5 to level. The set eventually went to a tie-break and a wayward backhand into the net from Halep who seemed tense sealed the set for the German in 59 minutes.
Halep knew she’d have to do something she only had to do in round one against Alison Riske and that was to come from behind but from a stubborn defender in Kerber.
The level of Kerber didn’t drop and it was a match where majority of points would get on a highlights reel, these two women gave everything.
Halep edged her way ahead but always faced a tough task to hold serve but continued to be strong mentally and her tennis was on another level.
The decibel level coming out of the world number one got louder and louder and then tennis was simply flawless. There aren’t many times where I’ve sat there, muttered “too good” to myself and applauded continuously.
For me, there were more battles in Paris which was epic but this one said to me Halep is physically and mentally locked in to win her first Grand Slam title and her celebration showed that…