With the loss of just two games, No.3 seed Simona Halep strolled into the last eight at the French Open on Monday, defeating No.21 seed Carla Suarez Navarro, 6-1, 6-1 on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Though Halep led 6-5 in the overall head-to-head between the two coming into the match, she had never previously beaten Suárez Navarro on clay.
That all changed on Monday, as the No.3 seed struck 19 winners in 60 minutes of play to return to the last eight for the second time in her career.
“I think I played the best match here in Roland Garros against Carla, which always was a tough match. On clay I never won against her, so it was a really good match. I think I played exactly what I had to.
?I’m ready to go into this second week. I’m happy to be in the quarterfinals again, so let’s see. Next opponent, it’s a big challenge for me. I will give my best.”
Hitting with purpose and pace, Halep dominated nearly all of the baseline exchanges in the match – hitting a tidy 19 winners in 14 games, while Suárez Navarro struggled to balance out her 25 unforced errors with just five winners.
The early stages of each set were well contested, as the Spaniard forced Halep to save two break points in her opening service game. However, a backhand winner and three errors from the Suárez Navarro racquet got Halep out of danger, and a forehand winner aided her cause to break in the next game.
That was all the edge Halep needed in a set where she surrendered just 15 points, as a love insurance break in the fourth game helped stretch her lead to 5-0. The second set began in similar fashion, as Halep broke serve to start the set, but Suárez Navarro dug in and broke the Romanian’s delivery from 40-0 to pull even.
The Spaniard had a chance to take her first lead in the match with a break point in the next game, but Halep once again seized initiative, and ran off the next four games to seal the fourth round victory.
“I’m really pleased with the way I played today. I think was complete game,” Halep assessed. “I played a little bit higher, so I knew it’s good against her. Also, I attacked the balls. I didn’t stay too far from the court. I opened the courts, I served pretty well, so I think everything went pretty well for me today. I’m really pleased with my game.”
“The result speaks for itself. She won in two straight sets, but it doesn’t reflect the match as a whole. I have to say that she played a great match,” Suárez Navarro said. “She played very well, [and I] had some opportunities that I couldn’t convert, unfortunately.”