A missed opportunity, deep disappointment for Simona Halep in French Open final

BY Jon Wertheim/Sports Illustrated • June 30, 2017

Simona Halep entered this event as the top contender, the best pre-tournament pick, per the odds-makers. And she did nothing to disabuse anyone of that designation before Saturday.

For four rounds, the 25-year-old Romanian played slick clay-court tennis, blending defense with offense and cruising. For the latter three matches, she showed fight and a sense of conviction, something not always in evidence in her game. In the quarters and semis, she relished the battle and won in three sets.

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But in Saturday's women's final against Jelena Ostapenko, she let opportunity slip. With the far superior resume and with far superior experience, she tightened, quickened her pace, blew her 6-4, 3-0 lead and offered little to resist Ostapenko's onslaught. Halep lost the title and lost a chance at the top ranking. This was supposed to be a coronation. Instead, it will mark a deep disappointment that, somehow, she must overcome soon.

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