Little-known Swiatek sends favourite, Halep, packing at Roland Garros

Iga Swiatek of Poland celebrates after winning her 4th round match against Simona Halep of Romania at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris on Sunday. Picture: EPA

With Serena Williams out through injury and Naomi Osaka and Ashleigh Barty not playing in Paris, the women’s draw is now wide open following the former champion’s defeat.

Top seed and 2018 champion Simona Halep was sent crashing out of Roland Garros on Sunday when Polish teenager Iga Swiatek stormed to a shock 6-1, 6-2 victory to reach the quarter-finals.

Swiatek, just 19 and ranked 54 in the world, will take on Martina Trevisan for a place in the semi-finals after the Italian became the first qualifier to reach the women’s French Open quarter-finals since 2012 on Sunday.

“I am surprised I could do this,” admitted Swiatek after ending the 17-match winning streak of Halep who was the overwhelming favourite in the absence of 2019 champion Ashleigh Barty and US Open winner Naomi Osaka and the injury-enforced withdrawal of Serena Williams.

“I felt like I played a great match,” added Swiatek who will be playing in her first quarter-finals at the majors.

It was a stunning turnaround for the Pole who won just one game against Halep at the same stage in Paris last year, getting swept off court in just 45 minutes.

“Last year I wasn’t experienced enough, it was my first match in a big stadium so I was a little stressed.

“But I have made a lot of progress since then, playing girls like Simona, Naomi and Caroline Wozniacki. Now I can handle the pressure.”

Swiatek swept through the opening set in just 23 minutes, firing 17 winners to Halep’s four.

The teenager tightened her grip, breaking in the first game of the second set with Halep having to fight off four break points in the third game to stay afloat.

Swiatek’s assault continued against a player who arrived in Paris with clay court titles in Prague and Rome.

Halep, 29, saved five more break points in the fifth game but a weary forehand drifted wide and her Polish opponent was 4-1 up with the cushion of a double break.

She took victory on a second match point, ending the tie in 68 minutes on the back of 30 winners and not having allowed Wimbledon champion Halep a single break point.

after refusing to give up on her dreams despite a prolonged battle with anorexia that at one point left her unable to recognise herself.

Trevisan, 26, earned the biggest win of her career as she dumped out fifth seed Kiki Bertens 6-4, 6-4 in the last 16 at Roland Garros in only her second appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam.

“I’m living in a dream,” said Trevisan, who saved two match points against Greek 20th seed Maria Sakkari in the third round.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.

today in print