For a while Simona Halep's third French Open final looked like ending in familiar heartache but the Romanian eventually wore down Sloane Stephens for a 3-6 6-4 6-1 victory and claim her long-overdue first Grand Slam title on Saturday.
Despite the defeat, Stephens said she was glad Halep "finally got her light".
Top seed Simona Halep of Romania was crowned Roland Garros champion when she defeated tenth-seeded Sloane Stephens of America in three-sets on Saturday in Paris.
"I think tomorrow is a bigger moment for Simona Halep than it is for Sloane Stephens", Evert, a Eurosport analyst, said on Friday. "I believed. And I never gave up". She lost the title match to Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open in January.
That determination when things aren't going her way has served Stephens well again at Roland Garros - she arrived in Paris after a poor clay-court season that had yet to yield a quarter-final.
Both players held their serves in the first three games, before Stephens finished her break in the fourth to move in front and built a 4-1 lead midway through the first set.
Maybe all of those losses in Grand Slam finals helped Simona Halep actually win one.
"Her journey has been tough and she had a heartbreak here previous year and in Australia and all the things that have happened to her", Stephens said.
Perhaps her ability to always get through tough times on court comes from putting the importance of tennis into perspective. Yet Stephens completed a scarcely believable return from injury by winning last year's US Open, becoming only the fifth unseeded woman to win a major singles title in the open era.
After consoling Stephens, she climbed into the stands to embrace Romania's former Olympic gymnastics champion Nadia Comaneci and 1978 Roland Garros victor Virginia Ruzici, the last Romanian to win a Grand Slam title.
The defeat left Halep reeling, and she lost to Sharapova in the first round of last year's US Open.
The 10th seed was by far the more composed of the two players, with Halep playing the aggressor but unable to breach her defence.
Paris - Sloane Stephens took aim at media "haters" on Saturday after reaching the French Open final, claiming she does not receive the respect she deserves.
Halep served out to finally snag a well-deserved first Grand Slam title.
Halep, down a set and a break, then made Stephens uncomfortable and proved why she's the best in the world right now.
Winning Grand Slams is paramount to that. "But I will be, I think, more confident, because I have a lot of experience".
An incredible fightback ensued, with Halep edging a tense second set before racing to victory in the decider.
To manage it, Halep had to come back from a set and a service break down, just as Jelena Ostapenko, her opponent in last year's French Open final, had done against her.
Halep is the Roland-Garros champion.
Halep beat Stephens the last four times they played each other.