Halep punishes Anisimova to reach last 16 at French Open

10/02/2020

Paris Oct. 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.

Anisimova caused a huge upset last year when she comfortably beat Romanian Halep, then the defending champion, in the quarter-finals, but could not reproduce that form.

Halep was in typically miserly mood on Court Philippe Chatrier, giving precious little away and waiting for the 19-year-old Anisimova to make mistakes.

She pocketed the opening set in 23 minutes and although 25th seed Anisimova, who had dropped only four games in her first two matches, briefly threatened a revival at the start of the second set Halep raced away to victory.

Halep 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. 

Elina Svitolina advanced into the fourth round with a solid 6-4 7-5 victory over Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova, staying focused throughout - a tough ask in the near total absence of fans, she said.

The Ukrainian third seed, who reached the last eight twice at Roland Garros, benefited from the 27th seed's early string of unforced errors to take the better start as she set up a meeting with Belgian 16th seed Elise Mertens or France's Caroline Garcia.

In the men's competition, 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 French Open fourth round on Friday. 

US Open champion Thiem, who has lost the last two finals at Roland Garros to Rafa Nadal, struggled with his serve in the opening set, facing six break points, but improved as the match progressed under the closed roof of Court Philippe Chatrier. 

The 21-year-old Ruud arrived in Paris having reached the semi-finals in Rome and Hamburg in the lead-up to the Grand Slam 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. 

His highlight was a brilliant 'tweener' lob, hit between his legs, during the second set which landed on the baseline with Thiem scampering back from the net but unable to return. 

"I'm very happy. It was a great match, I didn't make any mistakes," Thiem said in a courtside interview. "Casper is a really great player, very attractive to play. I think there were many good rallies. It was a good match from both of us. 

"The conditions are very nice to play under the roof, no wind, so the court is perfect and everything is prepared for great matches like that." 

The 27-year-old, who won his maiden Grand Slam in New York last month, next meets either former French Open champion Stan Wawrinka or local hope Hugo Gaston.-Agencies 

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