Simona Halep surprisingly entered the fourth round of the French Open with much ease as Daria Kasatkina faltered in the opening set of their third round encounter before putting up a tough fight in the second, but failed to convert four set points as the title favourite triumphed in straight sets after just 1 hour and 18 minutes of play.
Halep whitewashes Kasatkina
Halep had the best possible start to the match as she came into the match firing, being the more aggressive player and managed to dictate play early on. This saw her take the first break of serve in the opening game of the match, jumping off to a great start. In her first service game, Halep overcame some early jitters as she saved a break point with a forehand winner, eventually getting the service hold with an ace, consolidating the break.
Wasting game points, with one of them being thrown away on a double fault, Kasatkina was the victim of Halep’s merciless aggressive style of play as she hit a couple of backhand unforced errors to get broken yet again, going down a double break and a 0-3 deficit despite having game points in all of the games thus far.
The Romanian then easily consolidated the break as she held her serve to 30 without facing a break point to affirm her lead on the scoreboard. With the pressure on her now, Kasatkina served a double fault at 0-30 to gift Halep the third break of the set. The higher-ranked player then comfortably served out the set to 30, sealing the unpredictable bagel set after just 27 minutes of play.
Kasatkina inefficient on her opportunities
Kasatkina made an encouraging start to the second set as she finally got herself onto the scoreboard with a relatively easy service hold, having to wait for seven games and 33 minutes before winning one solitary game. However, it was still business as usual for Halep after she continued to play some world-class tennis, closing out the next game with an ace.
Expectedly, it was the Romanian who made the first breakthrough in the second set as she broke serve after Kasatkina continued to be inconsistent on her serves, unable to overpower Halep as the Romanian managed to consolidate the break to open up a 3-1 lead in the second set, looking on course for the victory. The win seemed to be within her reach when she earned a break point in the fifth game but was unable to convert as Kasatkina managed to hold her nerves and lessen the deficit.
The Russian made her mark on the red clay when she came out of nowhere to return level after hitting an impressive backhand down-the-line winner to return level all of a sudden. Kasatkina’s amazing run continued when she held her serve before breaking serve for the second straight time to take a 5-3 lead and earned the golden opportunity to serve out the set.
Despite earning four set points in the next two games, the Russian was unable to convert her chances as she threw in a couple of unforced errors at the most important of moments, allowing Halep to return level at 5-5. There, Kasatkina was disappointing on her serve as she lost the momentum and was broken to love, gifting Halep the lead once again and allowed her to successfully serve out the match easily after just 1 hour and 18 minutes, sealing the win with a lucky net cord on match point which caught Kasatkina off-guard.