Iga Swiatek
Credits: Twitter @rolandgarros

It was the biggest shocker in women’s singles at RG 2020 as Polish teenager Iga Swiatek ousted the 2018 champion and top-seeded Simona Halep from the French Open, winning 6-1, 6-2 to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. Swiatek, the only teenager who reached the fourth round, avenged a crushing defeat by Halep at the same stage last year. The Romanian won that match 6-1, 6-0, in just 45 minutes. Swiatek turned the tables this time.

“I didn’t have any kind of pressure going in. I was the underdog here and I am very happy after this win. She is probably the best here”, said Swiatek post her match. “I felt I was playing perfectly, she added. Even I am surprised that I could do that.”

She never faced a break point and punished Halep with her crunching baseline shots and exquisite net play. Swiatek’s win on the Court Philippe Chatrier ended a career-best 17-match winning streak for Halep. After losing the first set in just 26 minutes and then losing her first service game at the start of the second, Halep fought desperately to reverse the momentum. She saved four break points in the third game and another five before being broken again in the fifth game. Swiatek suffered none of the nerves that blunted her powerful tennis in their meeting last year.

Simona Halep made no excuses in her defeat to the 19-year old.

“All the credit to her, she played unbelievable today and she was everywhere and she hit all the balls in very strong, very powerful,” world number two Halep, who won the French Open in 2018, told reporters. “It was a little bit cold and I couldn’t be at my best, but she played really well and her match was like, no, it was her match today.” “I realise that it was a fantastic year with all the tough moments that we all had, so I’m not going to ruin the whole year just for a match,” said Halep, who skipped the U.S. Open Grand Slam in New York due to the pandemic. “Of course it’s not easy to take it, but I’m used to some tough moments in this career. So I will have a chocolate and I will be better tomorrow.”

Halep was a strong favourite to win a third Grand Slam in Paris but Swiatek gave her no chance to stage a comeback during the 68-minute mauling.