Sunday, October 4, 2020

Revenge is a dish that is best served at 81/69 in just over an hour

Last year at the French Open, 2018 champion Simona Halep and Iga Swiatek met in the round of 16. Halep, who was seeded third, defeated the young Polish player 6-1, 6-0. Today, they met again at the French Open, again in the round of 16, and the results were similar--but with a huge twist. Swiatek--in a stunning display of Andresscu-style show-offy tennis--upset top seed Halep 6-1, 6-2 in just over an hour.

This wasn't about Halep; she played well. Swiatek was simply on a mission, hitting 30 winners (with 20 unforced errors) and delivering impressive 81/69 first and second serve winning percentages. Swiatek looked completely in control throughout the match. She aimed at her targets with maximum spin on the ball, used the lob/drop shot combination, and generally flummoxed her clever, athletic opponent--which isn't that easy to do.

In 2017, Halep lost the final to the upstart of upstarts--Alona Ostapenko, who had celebrated her 20th birthday two days earlier. Last year, she lost in the quarterfinals to 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova. Today, it was an 18-year-old rising star who is currently ranked number 54 in the world. Clearly, the kids are alright--and they like to beat up on Halep.

It was odd to watch this dramatic match and not hear "Si-mo-na!" chanted from the stands. Anyone who has been paying attention would have known that Swiatek wasn't going to go away quickly this time, but I doubt if anyone was expecting the blow-out that was this match.

Meanwhile, 5th seed Kiki Bertens--who has seen plenty of drama during this tournament--also met an unfortunate fate in the form of Italian upstart (and world number 159) Martina Trevisan, who upset her 6-4, 6-4. 

3rd seed Elina Svitolina defeated Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia 6-1, 6-3, and Nadia Podoroska defeated Barbora Krejcikova 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.

There was another big upset today: In doubles, 14th seeds Alexa Guarachi and Disirae Crawczyk defeated top seeds defeated top seeds Hsieh Su-Wei and Barbora Strycova 6-4, 7-5 in the third round. Meanwhile, 2nd seeds Timea Babos and Kiki Mladenovic advanced to the quarterfinals when they defeated Andreea Mitu and Patricia Maria Tig.

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