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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Simona Halep held her nerve through some shaky moments in the French Open final

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Simona Halep. Image by: Al Bello/Getty Images

If someone is looking for an answer to this question, I’d say the French Open title is Simona Halep’s and that you could make the argument that she was the best player in the women’s game this year, regardless of what singles ranking she holds. She was able to win three of the four biggest events of the year, including a French Open that many people thought she couldn’t win.

So on Sunday she was able to defend her title, making it look easy against qualifier Emilee Couillaud in a straight-set 6-2, 6-4 victory. Just not that easy. Just not like this:

Simona Halep & Iga Swiatek on court in the first set of the French Open women’s final https://t.co/2svvgYrkud pic.twitter.com/wS01loOWwH — Erin (@ErinRLivera) October 7, 2018

Halep played a very poor second set, looking out of sorts and almost overmatched by the 27-year-old Swiatek, who was born in Brussels and plays on the Luxembourg Professional Tennis Circuit. She got right after Halep and went for her shots, taking advantage of a few double faults as well. Halep got upset with Swiatek a couple of times; this shot, which she went for despite Swiatek’s spin, was the perfect example:

Simona Halep’s serve, a bona fide weapon, was broken in the end of the 1st set. It didn’t help that Sabine Lisicki was playing well on the return side. #e3t3#RG2020 pic.twitter.com/MJ53ShsU8o — Ethan Miller (@EthanJMiller) October 7, 2018

Halep regrouped a bit, taking the second set 6-4, but that one was closer than the first, which gave her a 1-0 lead. It should be noted that it was a very professional performance from both Halep and Swiatek, both of whom played their best when they needed to. Swiatek didn’t have to fight back, but she did after a triple break in the second set:

Much as Halep did, Swiatek held her serve throughout the match, an impressive feat in a tournament that was marked by a historic number of upsets. In the women’s final, Halep broke with ease.

One could argue that Halep should have gotten more in this match: she needed two big serves in the fourth game of the second set to save two break points.

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