Halep defeat proves French Open is the toughest Grand Slam

Simona Halep's means that only Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles and Justine Henin have successfully defended the French Open women's title in the Open era.

Simona Halep went down to American teenager Amanda Anisimova in the quarterfinals of French Open 2019.   -  AFP

Simona Halep's shock quarterfinal loss to teenager Amanda Anisimova on Thursday illustrated again that the Roland Garros title is the hardest of all the Slams to defend.

Since 1945, there have only been back-to-back champions in Paris on 11 occasions.

Halep's 6-2, 6-4 loss to 17-year-old Anisimova means that only Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles and Justine Henin have successfully defended the French Open women's title in the Open era. Henin was the most recent -- and that was 12 years ago.

“Nerves a little bit,” said the Romanian third seed when asked to assess her defeat. “Stressed because I felt that I'm playing well, and maybe my expectations for myself were big today.

“Maybe I couldn't handle the tension in my body so I couldn't play my best and I couldn't move at my best level.”

Halep believes that Anisimova could even be a potential champion and become the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam title.

READ | Amanda Anisimova leads French Open quartet chasing first major title

“I think she has a big chance if she's playing like today without emotions and without thinking about the result. She was pretty calm. She showed that she's able to do good things and big things, so I think she has a chance.”

Johanna Konta, Marketa Vondrousova and Ashleigh Barty are the other players in the last four and, despite being impressed by Anisimova, Halep cannot separate them.

"Nothing surprises me anymore in tennis but, if I have to choose, it's tough," said the former world number one. I know Barty has a big chance also because she's very talented and she feels the ball. She played also well in the previous tournaments on clay, so I think she has the game to win the tournament.

"This is the first time Konta has won matches at Roland Garros, so everything can be possible. The other two, they are very young, so the story from 2017 [when 20-year-old Jelena Ostapenko won] can be repeated.

"Maybe one of them has a chance to win the tournament. It would be nice to have both teenagers in the final – that would be huge."

READ | French Open Highlights: Djokovic, Thiem, Anisimova, Barty reach semis

Halep, 27, will now turn her attentions to Wimbledon where her best run remains a semi-final spot in 2014. Last year, she was knocked out in the third round at the All England Club by Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei despite being the top seed.

“Hopefully I can make a good result. But no pressure. This year is a 'chill' year for me.”