Sloane Stephens appeared on the verge of winning her second straight Grand Slam tournament before losing steam and failing to beat to Romanian Simona Halep during Saturday’s French Open final, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Stephens, the 10th seed who won last year’s U.S. Open, had never advanced past the preliminary rounds at Roland Garros. She rolled into the Final with consecutive straight set victories over Russia’s Daria Kasatkina and fellow American Madison Keys.
Stephens appeared to be on her way to claiming the French title before falling apart in the second set against the top-seeded Halep -last year’s runner-up- who had won just one tournament in the last year.
“I think she’s had a tough journey,” Stephens told the New York Times. “I’m glad she finally got her first Slam. It’s a beautiful thing, very special. No matter how hard the adversity that you go through, there is always light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m glad she finally got her light.”
After Stephens won the first set, and took a 2-0 lead in the second, Halep stormed back win the second set – including breaking Stephens’ serve at 4-4. Halep eventually took a 5-0 lead in the final set and won 12 of the matches final 15 games to win the championship.
Prior to Saturday, Stephens was undefeated in tournament finals at 6-0 including last year’s U.S. Open victory. However, Sloane has not had any luck against Halep, as she lost for the fifth straight time against her.