2020 French Open, Day 6 Highlights: Halep’s statement win, Garcia d. Mertens in thrilling finish

The weather has been dreary for much of this year’s French Open but the tennis and storylines have been captivating. The top three seeds in this half of the draw are all into the last 16. They are the only seeds remaining though as three players advanced to the last 16 of a Slam for the first time in their career. Read on for highlights from day 6. Yay for the weekend and getting to focus on the tennis for the next two days.

Swiatek in superb form

For the loss of just 13 games, Iga Swiatek has swept into the last 16 of this year’s French Open. Swiatek produced another superb performance, defeating Eugenie Bouchard, 6-3 6-2. Much like the Rybakina-Ferro match, i’d expected Bouchard to be the more aggressive player. That was not the case AT ALL as Swiatek hit 30 winners to Bouchard’s 8!

Swiatek played such a complete match for the performance of the day. Swiatek used Bouchard’s pace and was aggressive and eager to come forward when the chance arose – Swiatek won nine of ten points at the net. Swiatek moved beautifully on the clay and showed some wonderful touch. Bouchard didn’t play a bad match but had no answers, or a Plan B to throw Swiatek off her rhythm.

In seven main draw appearances at the Slams, this is already the third time that Swiatek has reached the second week. She’ll get another shot at Simona Halep in the fourth round on Monday.

Halep’s statement win

2019 Roland Garros QF: Amanda Anisimova d. Simona Halep, 6-2 6-4

2020 Roland Garros R3: Simona Halep d. Amanda Anisimova, 6-0 6-1

Simona Halep exacted revenge on Amanda Anisimova after her straights set loss to the American in the quarters of the French Open last year. Halep dropped just the one game in a 54-minute rout. Halep barely put a foot wrong as Anisimova struggled to find the court for much of the match, hitting 32 unforced errors. It was one-way traffic after Anisimova missed five break points in Halep’s first service game.

Halep played a very good match. She landed a high percentage of first serves in (72%) and gave Anisimova no freebies. When Anisimova did manage to string a few balls in court, Halep dominated the lengthy exchanges. Another disappointing third round Slam performance from Anisimova. It’s been a tough year for Anisimova so I cut her a lot of slack. I haven’t changed my opinion at all about AA’s potential.

Garcia beats Mertens on 6th MP in an enthralling finish

Caroline Garcia scored a huge win over Elise Mertens, prevailing on her sixth match point in a thrilling finish, 1-6 6-4 7-5. I caught the last half an hour of this match which featured some terrific rallies.

While there were some wobbly moments from Garcia with forehands into the back fence and a double fault on one of the match points, the Frenchwoman managed to overcome the disappointment each time and follow it up with a quality point.  After missing three match points at *5-4, Garcia broke straight back with three winners in a row including a screaming forehand passing shot winner. Garcia finally converted on her sixth match point.

Garcia is into the second week of the French Open for the third time in the last four years. I didn’t realise her record was so good in Paris! In the last two Slams, she’s beaten Karolina Pliskova, Anett Kontaveit and now Mertens.

Winners on Day 5 🎾

Two days ago, Kiki Bertens saved a match point and was wheeled off court in a wheelchair after a bruising match against Sara Errani. Today she produced a clay-court masterclass, running Katerina Siniakova ragged. Bertens won, 6-2 6-2 in just 58 minutes.

Elina Svitolina edged a tight two setter, applying scoreboard pressure at the ends of both sets to beat Ekaterina Alexandrova, 6-4 7-5.

Prior to this week, Nadia Podoroska had never won a main draw match at a Slam. Now she’s into the fourth round (!) of the French Open after a 6-3 6-2 victory over Anna Karolina Schemidlova.

Quadrupling her number of main draw wins at a Slam this week, Barbora Krejcikova came from a set down to beat Tsvetana Pironkova, 5-7 6-4 6-3. It was an especially poignant win for Krejcikova who won on what would have been the 52nd birthday of her coach and mentor, Jana Novotna.

In  Friday’s last match and the upset of the day, the world number 159 Martina Trevisan saved a pair of match points in the second set tiebreak to beat Maria Sakkari, 1-6 7-6(6) 6-3. Trevisan barely missed a ball from late on in the second set tiebreak and held her nerve magnificently. A crusher for Sakkari.

Day 7 MOTD 📺

Aryna Sabalenka vs. Ons Jabeur: Ring the bells for a new match-up alert. Both players are seeking to reach the last 16 at Roland Garros for the first time in their career. Jabeur has been toughing out matches that no doubt she would have lost a few years ago. This week, she has scored wins over Diyas (4-6 6-3 6-1) and Hibino (7-6(4) 6-4). Sabalenka has been wildly erratic since the restart. She has probably looked at her most stable in Strasbourg and now in Paris after a decent 7-6(6) 6-0 win over Daria Kasatkina in the second round.

A genuine 50-50 clash because both players can blow hot and cold and are flashy in their own way. I’m going for Sabalenka.

Follow Moo’s Tennis Blog on Twitter and Facebook. Feature photo by Omar Boraby Photography.

5 thoughts on “2020 French Open, Day 6 Highlights: Halep’s statement win, Garcia d. Mertens in thrilling finish

  1. Garcia v Mertens is the match of the tournament so far for me! I missed the first 15mins and Garcia was already a double break down – I almost didn’t bother watching the match. Mertens was aggressive and Caro just couldn’t hit routine shots. But she fired herself up and started really playing her best tennis! I actually didn’t think she did much wrong trying to serve out the match the first time but feared it was game over when she got broken. I loved that she stayed positive and kept going for it – it paid off big time.

    I’m very happy with a Garcia v Svitolina QF because it means one of them is going to be a semi finalist!

    Like

      • I’m not sure! My gut says Svitolina will be too consistent – and she’s been impressive at sticking to her aggressive strategy. But if Garcia plays like she did yesterday then she could easily overpower Svitolina. Caroline was so good on the return! Having said that, Svitolina has really been mixing up the second serve, making it tougher for players to take chunks out of it.

        What do you think?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Svitolina is the safer pick as Garcia will have to play a great match. She’s in form though! I’m looking forward to the match 🙂.

        Like

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