French Open: Simona Halep produces comeback of the tournament to defeat Elina Svitolina

Coming back from a huge deficit of 3-6 1-5 and saving a match point in the process, Simona Halep took revenge for her loss in the final of the Internazionali BNL D'Italia as she defeated Elina Svitolina in a dramatic match to seal her ticket for the semifinals at the French Open.

French Open: Simona Halep produces comeback of the tournament to defeat Elina Svitolina
Simona Halep battles her way to the semifinals | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
Simona Halep
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Elina Svitolina

The biggest comeback of the tournament was witnessed in the quarterfinals of the French Open as Simona Halep produced a miracle to come from 3-6 1-5 down against Elina Svitolina and saved a match point in the process to prevail in three sets eventually, setting up a blockbuster meeting with Karolina Pliskova in the semifinals with the number one ranking on the line.

Svitolina gets off to a great start

Svitolina made a flying start to the match as she came up with some excellent offensive style of tennis in the opening game, holding her serve to love as Halep was forced to stay at the baseline and was unable to keep up with the pace Svitolina is playing at. In her first service game of the match, Halep found herself in deep trouble as she went down 0-30 within a blink of an eye. Nevertheless, a big forehand eventually helped Halep to win her first point of the match, getting the rhythm on her groundstrokes.

Elina Svitolina made a great start to the match | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
Elina Svitolina made a great start to the match | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

However, it still was not enough to help the Romanian win her first game of the match as Svitolina was very solid in her play, breaking serve as she took an early 2-0 lead. Playing better as the match progressed, Halep managed to keep Svitolina at bay and saved a game point by triumphing in a 14-shot rally, showing some baseline skills as she produced some incredible defense to find a way back into the game.

Nevertheless, Svitolina remained composed and consolidated the break for a commanding 3-0 lead. Halep’s woes continued as the Ukrainian remained the far more aggressive player on the court, breaking serve yet again with another powerful forehand winner. In the longest game of the first set thus far, Svitolina fended off an incredible four break points and whiskered through her service game, holding her serve in the 14-point game to lead by an unbelievable 5-0 scoreline.

Simona Halep was slowly finding her best tennis | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
Simona Halep was slowly finding her best tennis | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

Halep then finally got herself on the scoreboard as she was still inconsistent at points of time, with the fifth-ranked player missing a set point and losing the golden opportunity to seal a bagel victory. The Romanian then looked to mount an improbable comeback when she broke serve for the first time in the match to lessen the deficit to just three games, with Svitolina having problems to close out the set.

Halep started to boss the rallies after gaining the momentum as she eased to a service hold before earning a 0-30 lead in her return game. However, Svitolina finally managed to regain her composure and find her best serves once again, closing out the first set 6-3 after 44 minutes of play.

It was all Elina Svitolina in the early stages | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
It was all Elina Svitolina in the early stages | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

Halep produces impressive comeback

Halep got herself in deep trouble once again as she fell to an early break of service in the opening game of the second set, with Svitolina riding on the momentum from the first set. The Ukrainian then consolidated the break easily, dictating play in the rallies as she took full control of the match. Despite so, Halep did not lose hope and made life tough for Svitolina, holding her serve in a tight game to prevent herself from lagging further behind on the scoreboard.

Svitolina then went on a run, clinching eight consecutive points to go up a double break with Halep having no answers to her strong play, looking out of sorts. Svitolina looked as impressive as the scoreline suggested after holding her serve, being just one solitary game away from clinching the huge win as she opened up a commanding 5-1 lead.

Elina Svitolina started to falter at the end of the match | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
Elina Svitolina started to falter at the end of the match | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

Unexpectedly, just like the first set, Halep threatened to mount a huge comeback when she held her serve to love before getting one of the breaks back, showing some great fight. Having problems closing out the match, Svitolina gave Halep a way back into the set as the Romanian held her serve to lessen the deficit to just one single game, forcing the Ukrainian to serve it out once more. Halep then produced some of her best tennis as she rattled off four straight games to level the scores at 5-5 all of a sudden.

An amazing passing shot on game point from the Romanian kept her run ongoing, and came out of nowhere to lead 6-5 in the second set and place herself just one game away from leveling the match. The biggest comeback of the tournament so far still had more in store as Svitolina saved two set points to extend the set into a tiebreak and had the golden opportunity to close the match out. Some powerful backhands from Svitolina resulted in a 4-2 lead at the first changeover on the tiebreak, looking on course to seal the victory.

Simona Halep reaches out for a shot | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
Simona Halep reaches out for a shot | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

However, Halep made yet another fightback as she claimed three straight points to take the lead for the first time, with this encounter soon becoming a classic. Saving a match point with an excellent backhand winner into the open court, Halep soon earned her fifth set point at 7-6 up in the tiebreak. There was further drama being added into the second set when Halep’s forehand barely clipped the net and the lucky net cord went in the favour of the Romanian, allowing her to complete the perfect comeback and return level after the 57-minutes second set.

Halep strolls to the victory

With the confidence and momentum carried over from the first set, Halep had the perfect start to the final set as she broke serve in the opening game, taking the early lead in a set for the first time in the match. The Romanian continued to stroll through the games, consolidating the break to open up a 2-0 lead. It was a totally different Halep as compared to the first 1.5 sets after the world number three saved a game point from 0-40 up to extend her lead, looking poised to get the win.

Simona Halep celebrates the hard-fought win | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
Simona Halep celebrates the hard-fought win | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

Svitolina started to lose focus and failed to keep up with Halep’s pace as she allowed the Romanian to consolidate the break easily, edging closer to winning the match. The remarkable comeback was almost fully completed when Halep continued to cruise through the final set as Svitolina started to make countless unforced errors, allowing the former Roland Garros finalist to be just one game away from the win. Serving for the match, Halep managed to inflict a bagel on the Ukrainian as she easily held her serve to love, earning the miracle victory after 2 hours and 6 minutes of play.


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