This French Open has been one hell of a ride. The two pre-tournament favourites, Simona Halep and Garbiñe Muguruza, are both out of the tournament and three of the four quarter-finalists from the top half will play their first ever Slam quarter-final on Tuesday. All four women’s singles matches from Sunday’s schedule are covered in this post, as well as a look ahead to Monday’s fourth round matches.
Sensational Swiatek stuns Halep
Wow. Iga Swiatek produced a truly sensational performance to knock out the number one seed and hot favourite, Simona Halep, 6-1 6-2. Swiatek has been in superb form throughout this tournament, dropping just 13 games through her first three matches. This was next level…
Swiatek outplayed Halep from start to finish. Swiatek was super aggressive and put Halep under so much pressure from the very first point. Her footwork on the clay is soo good and she kept moving around onto her forehand (🔥🔥🔥) where she pounded winners past Halep. Even in the longer rallies, where Halep often thrives, Swiatek won the majority of them as she got it tactically spot on when to attack. To cap it all off, Swiatek served brilliantly and didn’t face a break point all match. The 19-year-old confidently served out the match to 15.
I don’t think Halep played a bad match at all. This one-sided scoreline was because of Swiatek. I guess Halep didn’t really rise to the occasion but sometimes you just have to take your cap off and say too good. The Halep-Anisimova and Halep-Swiatek matches from last year’s French Open have gone full circle in both occasions! I joked about it in yesterday’s post but i’m not sure how serious I was about it 😂. I’ve been high on Swiatek for a while and I think a lot of people will be joining the bandwagon after today’s performance.
Swiatek has dropped 16 games in four matches and is into her first Slam quarter-final. For a time on Sunday, Swiatek was the bookmaker’s favourite to win Roland Garros. Is this real life?
Trevisan’s first top 10 win in the biggest match of her career
Before the 2020 French Open, Martina Trevisan had never won a main draw match at a Slam and had only one top 100 win to her name which was recorded at a $100K ITF tournament in 2016 over Pauline Parmentier. In an extraordinary two weeks, the 26-year-old Italian came through qualifying and has recorded her four best ever wins to book her place in a first Slam quarter-final! On Sunday, Trevisan scored the biggest win of her career in the biggest match of her career, beating the number five seed, Kiki Bertens, 6-4 6-4.
I felt like Bertens was playing not to lose in this match. Bertens looked tight and inhibited, and was generally passive for large portions of this match. I don’t know whether she was still feeling anything physically? Anyway, this match was about Trevisan who was playing to win and was ultimately rewarded for her dynamism and positivity.
Trevisan lost leads in both sets – she let it slip from 5-1 to 5-4 in the first set and 3-0 to 3-3 in the second set. Trevisan kept plugging away and broke Bertens’s serve at 5-4 in both sets. Both set points were beauts from Trevisan – a gorgeous drop volley in the first set and a marvellous lob in the second set on match point which Bertens wasn’t expecting to land in as she walking back to her baseline!
After Muguruza’s loss yesterday, i’ve decided to embrace this carnage. What a feel-good story for Martina Trevisan.
Svitolina holding the fort, eases past Garcia
As the seeds tumble by the wayside, Elina Svitolina is holding the fort. Svitolina is the only seed remaining from the top half of the draw as she scored her first win over Caroline Garcia since 2015. Svitolina won, 6-1 6-3 in just over an hour. The conditions were tough on Philippe Chatrier with persistent gusts of wind and a crazy shadow. This was the first time i’d watched a match on Chatrier during the day in the sun and it wasn’t pleasant viewing, let alone playing!
Garcia was wildly erratic for a set and a half, failing to find any rhythm on her forehand. She improved towards the end as she twice managed to hold her serve and won a couple of extended rallies. However, Svitolina served exceptionally well and didn’t allow Garcia back in. Svitolina landed 66% of first serves in and won 77% of points behind her first serve.
A good, solid win for Svitolina who was clearly up for this rematch against Garcia having lost her last three matches to the Frenchwoman. The draw has been kind to her in the quarters but there will be tougher tests ahead. I’m keen to see whether she can keep being proactive and not become overly passive.
Podoroska’s first Slam QF
Just like Trevisan, Nadia Podoroska qualified for the main draw and had never won a main draw match at a Slam before this tournament. From this top half alone, there are two Slam quarter-finalists who have broken new ground with every single win! In a match that presented a hugeee opportunity for two players ranked outside of the world’s top 100, Podoroska held her nerve to beat Barbora Krejcikova, 2-6 6-2 6-3.
The game at 2-2 in the third set felt like a crucial one as Podoroska saved multiple break points to hold. Krejcikova made a couple of misjudgements as she twice left balls that landed in. I thought Podoroska was a touch more clutch in the key moments of the third set. On her fourth match point, Podoroska pulled out the drop shot to claim a historic victory.
Next up for Podoroska is Elina Svitolina, her first ever match against a top 20 player.
Recommended reading 📚
Learn more about Maria Trevisan’s story in this piece by Molly McElwee for the Telegraph.
Day 9 watchlist 📺
One Jabeur vs. Danielle Collins: A first time meeting and the first time both players have got this far at the French Open. Collins hadn’t won back-to-back matches since the restart. The American though is one of those eternally dangerous players where the form book means nothing. Jabeur has been consistently racking up wins, all year long. Collins can deal with variety (see R1 result vs. Niculescu). However, I think Jabeur has the blend of power and variety to get past Collins.
Sofia Kenin vs. Fiona Ferro: Ferro is into the second week of a Slam for the first time in her career. Kenin has made the last 16 at all three Slams this year, one of only two players to achieve that feat. Ferro, who is arguably in the form of her life, will be a big step up for Kenin. I’m strangely (because i’m always high on Kenin) feeling an upset.
Petra Kvitova vs. Zhang Shuai: Kvitova is now the big favourite to make the semi-finals from the fourth quarter which rather terrifies me. Zhang Shuai has game and is a well known seed-slayer, as demonstrated at this tournament as she took out Madison Keys in the first round. Kvitova leads Zhang, 3-2 in their H2H with the pair splitting their previous meetings on clay. I’m worried about this match for Kvitova. Hope I’m wrong because i’d love to see Petra come through this bottom half.
Laura Siegemund vs. Paula Badosa: Another meeting between two players who have never been this far at a Slam. The pair played each other last year on clay in Karlsruhe where Badosa won in straight sets. While this is uncharted territory for both, Siegemund has a wealth of experience on the clay and has enjoyed some big results on the dirt at tour level. I think Siegemund will have plenty of tricks up her sleeve to unsettle Badosa.