PARIS, October 2
Top seed Simona Halep extracted brutal revenge on American teenager Amanda Anisimova with a 6-0 6-1 victory to move ominously into the fourth round of the French Open today. Anisimova caused a huge upset last year when she comfortably beat Romanian Halep, then the defending champion, in the quarterfinals, but could not reproduce that form as she received a 54-minute claycourt lesson.
Halep was in typically miserly mood, making only seven unforced errors and waiting for the 19-year-old Anisimova to make mistakes, of which she made 32.
It took her only 23 minutes to win the opening set in which she made every single service return. The 29th seeded Anisimova, who had dropped only four games in her first two matches, briefly threatened a revival at the start of the second set but Halep raced away to victory.
“I learned so many things from last year,” Halep said. “I just wanted to show myself that I was able to win against her. Really happy the way I played. Even if the ball was really heavy I played very aggressive. I think last year I stood too far back on the return but today I did well.”
Halep, who decided against travelling to the US Open so that she could train on clay, will face another rising star in the next round when she plays Poland’s Iga Swiatek in a repeat of their fourth-round clash last year in which Halep dropped only one game. Swiatek eased past Canadian wildcard Eugenie Bouchard 6-3 6-2.
Claycourt master Rafael Nadal powered his way into the fourth round with a merciless 6-1 6-4 6-0 demolition of Italian Stefano Travaglia. The second seed will next meet American Sebastian Korda. Nadal encountered little resistance, hitting 28 winners and saying stars started to align in Paris.
“The scoreline is because I did a lot of good things, I went to the net more often, I was more aggressive,” the 34-year-old said. “I played my best match here at Roland Garros this year.”
Third seed Dominic Thiem was not at his best but still had enough firepower to see off Norway’s Casper Ruud with a 6-4 6-3 6-1 win and march into the fourth round.
US Open champion Thiem struggled with his serve in the opening set, facing six break points, but improved as the match progressed under the closed roof.
The 21-year-old Ruud arrived in Paris having reached the semifinals in Rome and Hamburg in the lead-up and came into the third-round clash having won more tour-level claycourt matches than anyone else in 2020. Bidding to become just the second Norwegian player to reach the fourth round at a Grand Slam — his father Christian reached the last-16 at the 1997 Australian Open — Ruud gave a good account of himself but it was not enough. — Reuters
Local favourite Caroline Garcia rallied from a set down to beat 16th seeded Belgian Elise Mertens 1-6 6-4 7-5. Garcia will next face third seed Elina Svitolina, who beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-4 7-5.
French flag flying
Wildcard Hugo Gaston took down former French Open champion Stan Wawrinka 2-6 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-0. Gaston is the last French man standing out of the 18 that started in the main draw.
India’s Rohan Bopanna and Canada’s Denis Shapovalov lost 6-2 6-2 to USA’s Jack Sock and Canada’s Vasek Pospisil in the men’s doubles first round.