Simona Halep's loss at the French Open marks a missed opportunity and deep disappointment.
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.
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.