If recent history holds up, tennis followers should expect a competitive, dramatic women’s final to come at Roland Garros. In four of the past five title matches, the eventual champion was forced to handle the pressure of prevailing in a winner-take-all set.
Simona Halep has been on both sides of the equation the past two years. The Romanian first watched her set-and-a-break lead evaporate against Jelena Ostapenko in 2017, and then found herself in Ostapenko's very same hole against Sloane Stephens before rallying for a three-set win to lift her first major trophy. Halep also went down in a thrilling three-set battle to Maria Sharapova in her first Grand Slam final five years ago in Paris.
Serena Williams picked up her third event title in 2015, but it marked the first time the 23-time Grand Slam champion was forced to play three sets in the Paris championship. Lucie Safarova dug in to snatch a second-set tiebreaker before Williams regrouped.
Conversely, during the Rafael Nadal era, the men’s final has yet to go five sets. The last epic five-set final came in 2004, the year before Nadal made his debut and began his reign. Gaston Gaudio battled back in astonishing fashion, saving two championship points to topple Guillermo Coria 0-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 8-6.
Throughout the Golden Age of Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, the other three majors have combined to host 10 five-set finals. The Australian Open and Wimbledon lead the way with four.