PARIS (AP) — Amid all the emotions of playing in her first Grand Slam final at the French Open, Simona Halep was able to keep her cool and keep her focus on the tennis.
For nearly three hours, anyway.
But in the third set on Saturday, tied 4-4 and serving to take the lead, Halep said she was unnerved when the chair umpire reversed a call to give Maria Sharapova a 0-15 lead. Sharapova then won the next seven points, and the match, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-4.
"I thought ... that we have to replay the point because I touched the ball," Halep said. "But the rule is, no, if I don't put the ball on the court we cannot replay the point. So I think that ball was very important at that moment."
In the previous game, Halep broke Sharapova for the seventh time in the match. But on the first point of the next game, Sharapova's shot was called long and Halep rimmed it well out of play.
Halep thought she won the point, but chair umpire Kader Nouni overruled the call, checking the mark in the clay and saying it was in. Halep then thought the point would be replayed, but Nouni said she had made contact before the linesman's call and hit it out, meaning Sharapova won the point.
"After that, I couldn't manage my nerves, maybe, and I couldn't stay very focused for the next points," Halep said. "That's it. That's life. So I have to look forward ... to work harder and to play many more finals."
Continue reading this story on the...