It might have been that the Romanian took it for granted, especially after her solid performances during the previous rounds. Simona Halep probably didn't think it was a grudge match but just one that she would win and move on to the quarters at Roland Garros, in a tournament where several of the main favourites had already been eliminated.
None of this had happened. A 19-year-old Pole, Iga Swiatek defeated Halep in straight sets and walked away smiling, after a resounding 6-1 6-2. She remembered last year when the Romanian swept her out of the French Open and she barely won a game.
Halep's 6-1 6-2 defeat came so unexpectedly as her preparation was on point.
She had won 17 matches and 13 of them on clay. Halep decided to not fly to New York and play the U.S. Open because of the pandemic and practiced only on the clay courts of her hometown in Romania during the six-month break.
Halep had won two titles in a short span: The Prague Open and the Italian Open. It was uncanny for her to lose so outrightly as she even commented that "All credit to her. She played unbelievable today." But it was at this victory that Iga Swiatek could only say "Even I am surprised that I can do that."
. The Polish player surprisingly reached the quarter-finals of the last slam of the season and she did it in greeat fashion. The Polish teen brought her strategies with her and never hesitated to do what's needed to win.
She mixed up her shots well. Halep couldn't handle her opponents' volleys and was shaken by her net game. Swiatek had taken Halep out of her element of play and won on an unlikely candidate. The Romanian had no choice but being a good sport knowing she did well with this disrupted season.
"At this level nobody surprises anybody anymore...it depends on the day," Halep mentioned. But it wasn't Halep's day. As a champion of more than 20 singles titles, she know her days aren't numbered yet. There are more titles hopefully to come for her as well as victories for the great 19-year-old Polish player that just defeated her.