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French Open: Swiatek shocks Halep at Roland Garros as Nadal eases into 14th quarter-final

Swiatek will face Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan for a place in the semi-finals after the 26-year-old, ranked 159 in the world, registered a 6-4, 6-4 victory over fifth seed Kiki Bertens

Poland's Iga Swiatek celebrates after beating Romania's Simona Halep to reach the French Open quarter-finals. AFP
Poland's Iga Swiatek celebrates after beating Romania's Simona Halep to reach the French Open quarter-finals. AFP

Polish teenager Iga Swiatek shocked top seed and title favourite Simona Halep to reach the last eight of the French Open on Sunday as 12-time champion Rafael Nadal breezed into the quarter-finals for the 14th time.

Swiatek, just 19 and ranked 54 in the world, triumphed 6-1, 6-2 on the back of 30 winners and not allowing 2018 champion Halep a single break point.

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

It was a stunning turnaround for the Pole who won just one game against the Romanian at the same stage in Paris last year, 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 now I can handle the pressure."

Halep had arrived in Paris with claycourt titles from Prague and Rome and had demolished Amanda Anisimova, who shocked her in Paris last year, for the loss of one game in 54 minutes in the third round.

"She played really well, it was her match today," admitted Halep who said she'll quickly get over her disappointment with her season now at an end.

"I will have a chocolate and I will be better tomorrow."

Swiatek will face Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan for a place in the semi-finals after the 26-year-old, ranked 159 in the world, registered a 6-4, 6-4 victory over fifth seed Kiki Bertens, a semi-finalist in 2016.

Trevisan is the first qualifier to make the last eight since Yaroslava Shvedova in 2012.

'Living a dream'

Trevisan had saved two match points in her win over Greek 20th seed Maria Sakkari.

"I'm living in a dream," said the Italian whose other appearance in the main draw of a major came at the Australian Open in January.

Sunday's early shocks mean that only four seeds remain in the women's draw - third seed Elina Svitolina, fourth-seeded Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova, seeded at seven, and Tunisia's Ons Jabeur, the 30th seed.

Nadal defeated American qualifier Sebastian Korda 6-1, 6-1, 6-2, staying comfortably on course for a 13th French Open title and record-equalling 20th Grand Slam crown.

Second seed Nadal racked up his 97th win at the tournament against just two defeats since his title-winning debut in 2005.

He goes on to face either German sixth seed Alexander Zverev or Italian teenager Jannik Sinner in what will be his 42nd career appearance in the last eight of a Grand Slam.

Korda, the world No 213 and son of 1998 Australian Open champion and 1992 Roland Garros runner-up Petr Korda, never really recovered from slipping quickly to a 5-0 deficit in the first set.

The 20-year-old, who was so in awe of Nadal when he was growing up that he named his cat after the Spaniard, had the consolation of breaking serve once in the third set.

However, it was a brief respite as 34-year-old Nadal swept into the last eight without dropping a set and with his opponent left to rue 48 unforced errors on a chilly, blustery day in the French capital.

"It was a good performance and I am happy with that," said Nadal. "But Sebastian will be a great player in the future, it's impressive to see him hit the ball so well."

Later Sunday, third seed and US champion Dominic Thiem, the runner-up to Nadal for the last two years in Paris, faces France's Hugo Gaston, ranked at 239.

Gaston is the only French player left in the men's tournament from the 18 who started out but stunned 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka in five sets in the third round.

The day's other last 16 match features Diego Schwartzman, the 12th-seeded Argentine who upset Nadal in Rome on the eve of Roland Garros. He faces 46th-ranked Lorenzo Sonego of Italy who is in the fourth round of a major for the first time.

Svitolina, twice a quarter-finalist, meets France's Caroline Garcia.

Argentine qualifier Nadia Podoroska, ranked 131, faces number 114 Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic who has four doubles titles at the majors.

Published: October 4, 2020 05:54 PM

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