Simona Halep is the defending French Open champion, but not the top seed. She is, however, the highest seed left standing at No 3 after the premature departure of Naomi Osaka, the World No 1, and Karolina Plsikova, the World No 2, and she was ruthless in her last encounter against Iga Swiatek in the fourth round in Paris.
I have a good feeling, I feel good on court. I’m back in the second week, in the quarter-finals. Anything that comes is a bonus Simona Halep
It took her just 45 minutes to brush aside any hint of a challenge from the teenager to reach the quarter-finals.
The former World No 1 dropped only one game during her crushing 6-1 6-0 victory over the 18-year-old Pole on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Swiatek only managed to get on the scoreboard in game 6 of the first set, and even then she had to save 2 break points, but it was one-way traffic after that.
Halep will face American Amanda Anisimova in the quarter-final after the 17-year-old continued her amazing run with a 6-3 6-0 win over Spain’s Aliona Bolsova.
“Kind of perfect, I felt really well on court,” said Halep.
“I have a good feeling, I feel good on court. I’m back in the second week, in the quarter-finals. Anything that comes is a bonus.”
The 3rd seed produced a nearly flawless performance against a bold opponent, who turned 18 last Friday.
Swiatek came out with all guns blazing but clearly failed to master her raw power, unable to find her range or an antidote to Halep’s consistency and pace.
The Romanian finally whipped a forehand winner down the line to dismiss the young Pole unceremoniously.
“I have a good feeling, I feel good on court and I’m not stressing myself about the result,” added Halep.
Anisimova is into her first career Grand Slam quarter-final at Roland Garros after defeating qualifier Bolsova in straight sets.
Swiatek endured a 45-minute a bit of a master class from Halep, then headed back to high school.
The World No 104, who only turned 18 on Friday, lost the brutally one-sided clash in which she failed to hold a single service game.
“It was a lack of experience and I couldn’t get the ball in court but I will still remember the match,” said Swiatek, one of three teenagers to make the last 16.
“I was surprised by her ability to play the ball in a direction I wasn’t expecting but I am happy I got the chance to feel her game.”
Swiatek knocked out Olympic champion Monica Puig on her way to the last 16 and admitted it was strange sharing the Court Philippe Chatrier with the defending champion.
“It’s weird playing someone you have watched on TV all your childhood,” she added.
“But I guess I wasn’t there in my head. It was stress, I missed balls I never would miss in practice. I will learn from it.”
Next up for Swiatek is the grass court season, but first a return to the classroom beckons.
“I have 6 tests to take before the grass season and then I will graduate next year.”
How young they all are.
Looking right at home on Court Simonne Mathieu, however, the 2017 Roland Garros junior finalist, Amanda Anisimova, struck 33 winners and 3 aces to end the Cinderella run of Aliona Bolsova, who was into the round of 16 on her Grand Slam main draw debut.
The American is just one of two teenagers to advance to the quarter-finals at this year’s Roland Garros, joining 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova, who is already through to the final 8.
The teenager fired 33 winners past her World 137-ranked opponent, who was making her Roland Garros debut and is still completing her university studies in Barcelona.
Anisimova’s reward for reaching her first Grand Slam quarter-final will be a mouth-watering clash with Halep, which will be their first meeting.
Madison Keys and Ashleigh Barty are set to meet in the last 8 after they both won on Monday.
USA’s Keys beat 23-year-old Kateřina Siniaková of the Czech Republic, 6-2 6-4, in 76 minutes, while Barty’s passage was less straightforward, as she needed 3 sets to vanquish Sofia Kenin, the 20-year-old American who had beaten Serena Williams in round three.
The 8th seed from Australia eventually won 6-3 3-6 6-0 on Philippe Chatrier.