Already circled in as the favourite for the French Open women’s title, the pressure will be on Simona Halep even more now with two of the bigger threats now out of the tournament. Svetlana Kuznetsova lost in three sets to Caroline Wozniacki while the big matchup on Sunday saw Kristina Mladenovic advance at the expense of last year’s champion Garbine Muguruza. Halep plays the No. 21 seed Carla Suarez Navarro for her spot in the last 8 of the tournament.
Suarez Navarro has always been a handy clay court player, albeit failing to often make it to the deep end of draws on the surface in big tournaments. Twice a French Open quarter finalist, she will need a great performance to make it three against Halep. She has not seen much hype in the first week of the tournament despite 3 strong wins to get this far, most recently winning 6-4 6-4 against Elena Vesnina in the previous round.
Meanwhile, Halep navigated a potentially tricky matchup against Daria Kasatkina in a good enough fashion to win out in straights. However, she will want to avoid any blips like the one that saw her almost taken 3 sets from 6-0 3-1 up. She corrected things quickly enough to end the match in straights, winning the final 4 games of the match. “It was a good match. I think I played really well the whole match, even if she has the 5-3 in the second set,” Halep said. “I felt that I was pushing her back, and also I was rolling the ball pretty well. ”
“I played well, and the most important thing is that I’m playing better match by match, gives me confidence for the next week, and also nerves, but better nerves this time.” Halep added. She will need to do something to reverse the disastrous head to head she has against her next opponent, going 0-4 on the surface against her. It is fair to note that 3 of the matches were before Halep’s meteoric rise up the rankings began but even still, she was defeated in their 2015 meeting when Halep was ranked World No.2. There does seem no better time for the Romanian to take advantage and end this streak, especially with the World No.1 and a maiden slam up for grabs.
Prediction – Simona Halep in straight sets