Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Tennis

Halep finding form at right time in Paris title bid


Easy win: Simona Halep dropped only one game
Easy win: Simona Halep dropped only one game

By Eleanor Crooks

Simona Halep put in a champion's performance to swat aside Iga Swiatek and return to the quarter-finals of the French Open.

The third seed had a tough start to the tournament, dropping sets in her opening two rounds, but since then she has been ruthless in blowing away all before her.

After beating Lesia Tsurenko for the loss of three games in 55 minutes in round three, Halep needed only 45 minutes to defeat Swiatek 6-1 6-0.

The 18-year-old Pole, last year's Wimbledon junior champion, had done brilliantly to make the fourth round, but it was a rather chastening experience as she won just 21 points.

Swiatek admitted she was overwhelmed by the occasion, saying: "I wasn't playing my game. I had a problem with just putting the ball in court. So I guess that was because of stress and lack of experience, but it's natural.

"It's a good experience for me. And I'll remember that match. I'll learn from it even though it lasted, like, 40 minutes."

Halep now faces an an even younger player in 17-year-old American Amanda Anisimova, who defeated Spanish qualifier Aliona Bolsova 6-3 6-0.

Halep joked she felt "very old", saying: "To play against someone 10 years younger than me, that's not easy. But I feel stronger on court.

"We'll see the next one. They're young, they have nothing to lose, so every match is tough."

Asked if she felt bad for Swiatek, the 27-year-old added: "I can't say I feel bad, because I played my best tennis. I prefer to play like that.

"But she needs many matches on those courts. She needs time. But for sure she will be high because, at 18, if you're playing in the fourth round of a Grand Slam, that means a lot. So she will be all right after this."

Anisimova made her breakthrough by getting to the fourth round of the Australian Open in January and has now gone one better. She is the first player born in the 2000s to make the last eight at a Slam.

The teenager revealed she was inspired by Halep, saying: "I was watching Simona before my match and then I was like, 'Oh, my God, her backhand down the line is so good', and she was taking her time, and then I think I was mimicking it in my match.

"I can't describe how excited I am. I couldn't ask for a better match-up."

Eighth seed Ashleigh Barty ended the run of Serena Williams' conqueror Sofia Kenin to reach the quarter-finals at Roland Garros for the first time.

Kenin, who had pulled off the biggest win of her young career by defeating Williams in round three, fought hard to take the second set against Barty but the Australian came through 6-3 3-6 6-0. In the last eight, Barty will take on 14th seed Madison Keys, who defeated Katerina Siniakova 6-2 6-4.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph