No regrets for Halep after French Open 'hurt'

Simona Halep (AFP)
Simona Halep (AFP)

Paris - Simona Halep insisted she had nothing to regret after a painful loss to rising Latvian star Jelena Ostapenko in Saturday's French Open final.

The Romanian third seed was leading by a set and a break in Paris but succumbed to 47th-ranked Ostapenko's fearless shot-making in a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 defeat.

"I don't believe I did something wrong, too wrong today. I think I played okay. I played well," said Halep, also a runner-up at Roland Garros to Maria Sharapova in 2014.

"She played really well, all the credit. She was hitting very strong. At some point I was like a spectator on court. She deserved to win.

"It's a tough moment for me, but it's gonna go away, I hope, with the time.

"I will keep working, because I really want to repeat what I have done this tournament."

Halep was trying to become the first Romanian Grand Slam champion since Virginia Ruzici at Roland Garros in 1978 -- and just the third overall. Ilie Nastase won the 1972 US Open and the French Open a year later.

The 25-year-old, who would have also replaced Angelique Kerber as the new world number one with victory, admitted feeling "sick to the stomach".

"I was very close to take the first Grand Slam and also No. 1 in the world. So it was a little bit of like emotional moment," said Halep, who had reached the final by saving a match point against Elina Svitolina in the last-eight.

"I think everyone has it, and it's good. So I want to have many more if it's possible. That's why I work 20 years and played 20 years to have this moment."

It was a second final defeat in four years for Halep, who was hoping to become just the sixth player to win both the girls' and women's singles titles in Paris.

"This one hurts a lot maybe because I am more -- I realise more what is happening," said Halep, who will return to second in the rankings.

"Three years ago was something new, so now I know. Hurts a lot, and I need time just to -- I don't know. To go away."

In the absence of Serena Williams, Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka, Halep was viewed as the overwhelming favourite.

But the Romanian, who had never faced Ostapenko before, bristled at the suggestion.

"I didn't say that I'm favourite before the match, because you never know with players, young players, and players like this, playing very hard and hitting all the balls."

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