A couple of days ago, Simona Halep put up a spell-binding performance against Amanda Anisimova to reach the fourth round. On Sunday, at 2020 Roland Garros, it was the world no. 2’s turn to be at the receiving end of an equally strong showing.
This time, from a player whom she had beaten in the 2019 French Open. Poland’s Iga Swiatek upset the French Open top-seed 6-1, 6-2 in 68 minutes to take her place in the quarter-finals. From start to finish, the 19-year-old dominated the proceedings over the former champion.
Swiatek found winners from all corners of the court, and parking herself at the baseline, she put Halep in a defensive position, forcing her to scramble for shots. Swiatek also found substantial success in using the drop shot as Halep struggled to reach to them after trying to get to a previous ball to put a return back in play.
2020 Roland Garros: The neutralising of Simona Halep
Swiatek had 30 winners in the match, 17 of which came in the first set alone. In comparison, Halep – who was moving and playing well – came as the second-best player by a long mile, finishing with 12 winners for the match (of which, only four came in the opening set).
So good was Swiatek with her shot selection and eventual execution that she did not face a single break point. In comparison, she created 14 break point chances for herself, eventually converting four of these. The closest Halep got to Swiatek’s serve was reaching to 30 in a handful of games before the Pole stopped the paltry bleeding of her service.
This is Swiatek’s first top-10 win just as it is the first time she will be playing in the last-eight of a Major. In her on-court chat, the jubilant teenager shared, “I felt like I was, like, playing perfectly and I was so focussed the whole match that even I am surprised that I can do that… It is my favourite...
this week is like a dream come true for me”. Meanwhile, Simona Halep’s loss at 2020 Roland Garros brought an end to her winning run of 17 matches going back to the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships in February.
Halep's upset also means that the tournament will crown a first-time titlist. Photo Credit: Roland Garros Twitter