Home Sport Halep praises ‘unbelievable’ Swiatek after French Open loss

Halep praises ‘unbelievable’ Swiatek after French Open loss

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At the same stage at Roland Garros last year, Halep defeated Swiatek 6-1 6-0 in 45 minutes, but the 19-year-old turned the tables spectacularly on Sunday to end the Romanian’s 17-match winning streak.

Women’s top seed Simona Halep crashed out of the French Open fourth round on Sunday after the world number two was stunned 6-1, 6-2 in 68 minutes by Polish teenager Iga Swiatek (pictured). Picture: Alessandra Tarantino, AP

PARIS – Top seed Simona Halep made no excuses after going down tamely to Polish teenager Iga Swiatek in the fourth round of the French Open on Sunday, instead crediting her opponent’s level of play in the 6-1 6-2 thrashing.

At the same stage at Roland Garros last year, Halep defeated Swiatek 6-1 6-0 in 45 minutes, but the 19-year-old turned the tables spectacularly on Sunday to end the Romanian’s 17-match winning streak.

“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.”

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.

The Romanian, 29, did not manage a single breakpoint on the serve of Swiatek, who peppered the Court Philippe Chatrier with 30 winners.

Halep said she was not surprised, however.

“Because everyone at this level is playing really well and in the fourth round of a Grand Slam it’s not a surprise any more, because if you are there it means that you have a great game,” she said.

“For sure I could have done something different, like playing more balls in and trying to push her back, but it’s all I had today and I couldn’t make something better,” Halep said.

Halep won the last three tournaments she played and said she was happy to have been able to play the French Open amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“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 US 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.”

Meanwhile, third seed Elina Svitolina ended the run of local hope Caroline Garcia with a 6-1 6-3 win later on Sunday to move into her third quarter-final at Roland Garros.

Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina celebrates during her fourth round match against France’s Caroline Garcia. Picture: Reuters, Gonzalo Fuentes

On a day that the women’s draw lost top seed Simona Halep and fifth seed Kiki Bertens, Svitolina, who reached the last eight in 2015 and 2017, put in a solid performance to be the highest-ranked player remaining in the claycourt Grand Slam.

Garcia had come from a set and a break down to win her past three meetings against fellow 26-year-old Svitolina, but there was no such repeat as the Ukrainian broke her opponent’s serve six times to complete her victory in 63 minutes.

Svitolina converted her first match point when Garcia sent a forehand wide, and she will play the winner of the match between Argentine qualifier Nadia Podoroska and Czech Barbora Krejcikova for a place in the semi-finals.

Reuters