Polish teen proves too good for Simona Halep in French Open
Paris — Polish teenager Iga Swiatek booted top seed Simona Halep out of the French Open on Sunday with a crushing 6-1 6-2 victory to make her maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal.
Halep came into the fourth-round clash on a 17-match unbeaten streak having defeated the 19-year-old Swiatek, ranked 54th in the world, 6-1 6-0 in 45 minutes at the same stage in 2019 in the clay court Grand Slam at Roland Garros.
“I wasn’t experienced at all then. That was my first match in a big stadium,” Swiatek said in her on-court interview, after wiping away tears. “I was pretty stressed. Since then I have made huge progress and I have played few big matches … it helped me a lot. And right now I think I can handle the pressure.”
Swiatek avenged that morale-sapping defeat and her victory under the closed roof of Court Philippe Chatrier in 68 minutes was no less impressive against the 2018 French Open champion, ranked No 2 in the world.
Halep arrived in Paris having won clay court tournaments in Prague and Rome, and with the Australian world No 1 Ash Barty deciding against defending her French Open title, the 29-year-old was the overwhelming favourite to add a third Grand Slam trophy to her cabinet.
But she watched in disbelief as Swiatek started with aggression and painted the red clay with winners, often leaving Halep rooted to the spot on the court.
Swiatek hit 30 winners as opposed to the 12 managed by Halep, while the Polish player did not face a single breakpoint on her service games.
“I don’t know what happened actually, I felt like I was playing perfectly. I was so focused the whole match, even I am surprised that I can do that,” Swiatek said.
The former Wimbledon junior champion will next meet Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan, who also scripted an upset by defeating fifth-seeded Dutch Kiki Bertens 6-4 6-4.
Trevisan became the first qualifier in eight years to reach the quarterfinals at the French Open by beating Bertens. The world No 159 played aggressively throughout.
“I came here two weeks ago to play the qualifiers and today I’m here in the quarterfinals. I can’t believe it,” said Trevisan, who will break into the top 100 of the WTA rankings on Monday.
“I’m really honoured to play on this court with Bertens, she’s an incredible player.”
After 16 consecutive defeats to top 100 players across all levels from 2017 to 2020, Trevisan has now posted four consecutive wins over such opponents in one week. She is the first qualifier to reach the last eight at Roland Garros since Yaroslava Shvedova in 2012, and the 10th overall in the women’s draw since tennis turned professional in 1968.
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