The 2014 French Open finalist Simona Halep has flourished on the clay courts of Roland Garros. The Romanian's participation was in serious doubt as she damaged her ankle ligament in the final in Rome. Nevertheless, the third seed's movement hasn't seemed to be hampered, and she has moved exceptionally well. The third seed opened proceedings on Court Philippe Chatrier against the two-time quarterfinalist Carla Suarez Navarro. The draw in the women's singles was always going to be wide open. The tournament is guaranteed to crown a first-time Grand Slam singles champion with four Grand Slam champions losing in the fourth round yesterday.
The Romanian is through to her second French Open quarterfinal, the first time since reaching the final in 2014. Halep has now reached the quarterfinals or better at least twice at all four Grand Slams. Halep will play fifth seed Elina Svitolina in a rematch of their final in Rome, for a place in the semifinals.
Halep mercilessly cruises past Suarez Navarro in the opening set
The 21st seed almost got off to a dream start as she created two break point chances on the Romanian's serve. However, Halep staved off both break points in a long rally with a backhand winner down the line. The second one was fended off with two-time quarterfinalist committing a forehand unforced error in a long rally. The former world number two held serve with Suarez Navarro's forehand deserting her.
However, the inevitable occurred with Suarez Navarro facing a break point with a forehand winner down the line. The Romanian saved it in a good rally, forcing an error from the former world number six.
The 2014 finalist consolidated the break, and Halep was in cruise control in this opening set. She got three break points on Suarez Navarro's serve to get a double break. Halep raced out to a 0-40 and she got the double break with a good return and a scintillating backhand winner down the line.
The Romanian consolidated the double break advantage to lead 5-0. The 21st seed finally got on the board with a comfortable service game. Nonetheless, the fifth seed continued to remain consistent on her serve, and she created her first set point chance with a forehand winner down the line. Halep took the first set with a backhand winner down the line, to win the set, 6-1 in a mere 26 minutes.
Halep dominates the second set to reach the second quarterfinal in Paris
Suarez Navarro's stay in Paris seemed to be diminishing by the minute, and Charles de Gaulle Aiport would be her next destination. Halep broke the Spaniard's serve with a set and a break advantage. Surprisingly, Suarez Navarro broke the Romanian's serve on her fourth break point chance to level the match at 1-1.
The 21st seed continued to commit unforced errors on her own service games with Halep, returning with a forehand winner down the line. The Romanian regained the break back with a backhand unforced error out wide.
Halep consolidated the break to love with the finishing line in sight. Suarez Navarro seemingly struggled mentally as she just continued to commit forehand unforced errors. The world number four gained the double break with a forehand unforced error to lead 4-1.
The Romanian excelled in all areas on the court with her movement at world class level. Halep stepped into the court with a backhand winner down the line to build a 30-0 lead. Suarez Navarro tried her best to drag Halep around the court but the Romanian's defense was too much for the 21st seed to deal with. Halep had a 5-1 lead, and it was almost time for the Romanian to think about the quarterfinals.
Suarez Navarro had to serve to stay in the match and the third seed raced out to a 0-30 lead. Furthermore, the former world number six got a game point at 40-30. Halep's forehand winner in the corner got the game levelled to deuce. The 2014 finalist wanted to finish the match now, and she gained her first match point with a drop shot winner. The contest was over in one hour when Suarez Navarro committed a tame forehand unforced error in the net.
By the numbers
Both players got a high percent of their first serves in. The Spaniard got 75 percent of her first serves in, whilst Halep got 77 percent of her first serves in. However, Suarez Navarro struggled to win points on her first serve as she only won 39 percent of the points on her first serve, in contrast to Halep who won 68 percent of the points on it. Halep produced 19 winners, whilst Suarez Navarro got 5 winners. The Romanian committed 20 unforced errors, and the Spaniard committed 25.