On Saturday, the then-World #1 Simona Halep fought hard in the searing Australian heat against the current World #1 Caroline Wozniacki, only to fall short once again. This is now the Romanian’s third failed attempt to win the final of a Grand Slam, which raises the question of if she will ever be able to go that one step further and won one.
After losing the first set, Halep rebounded quickly in the Australian Open final and snatched the second set 6-3. Her fortunes continued when the 26-year-old found herself a break up in the final at 4-3 and was in a winning situation. However, it was clear that her nerves got the better of her. Rather rapidly, she lost her next two service games and subsequently lost the match. The counter-puncher lost her World #1 ranking as a result of losing the match and this has clearly shown that when the important moments and matches come her way, she is never able to succeed.
This hasn’t been the only time where she has squandered a Grand Slam final match. In the 2017 French Open final she was a set and a break up, before eventually losing to Jelena Ostapenko in a very disappointing match. The Latvian had given Halep so many opportunities to win the prestigious title. She had even given her a break point at 3-0 up to go a double break up in the second set. Despite all this, she could only win one more game in the set. Again, the pressure proved to be too much as she lost five straight games in a row in the final set. It was Halep’s biggest chance yet to finally win a Grand Slam title. The fact that she (somehow) managed to lose that match shows that she doesn’t have the mental strength to win a Grand Slam and can’t win even when it looks so easy. She also lost in the Paris final three years earlier against Sharapova, once again in three sets.
Simona Halep has proven she has the skills to win a big title, but has never taken advantage of the big opportunities she has had. Losing in the French Open final despite being a break up (twice) could have been just an unlucky fluke, but the fact that she did it once again last week shows she can’t win one. If she can finally get rid of that pressure, she could easily be the best in the world, but I believe she will never get rid of those nerves. She definitely deserves to win a Grand Slam, but whether she will in the future is questionable at best right now.
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