With many of the WTA top 10 now out the draw, the pressure will be ramped up on defending champion Simona Halep as seeks to hold on to her title. She will face the big hitting Pole Iga Świątek to close out the schedule on Philippe Chatrier.
Swiatek, a junior top 5 player and last year’s Wimbledon Girls champion, is one of a number of teenagers making waves in the tournament this fortnight. She possesses great power and a strong serve, already capable of hitting many a player off court. She posted highly impressive stats in round two, hitting 33 winners to 12 unforced errors in defeating Qiang Wang. A disastrous opening set (3/15) against Monica Puig skewed the figures in her round three 0-6 6-3 6-3 win but she would hit another 31 winners in the last two sets of the match. “I just thought the second set would be different. We’ll start from the beginning. I waited until the end of the first set to focus more, to get my power…I had nothing to lose. ” she said afterwards.
Halep eased past an injured Lesia Tsurenko to move on, needing less than an hour to defeat the Ukranian 6-1 6-2. Tsurenko, likely suffering from her 11-9 win the previous day, was never really in it as the Romanian took her apart on return with breaks in all 8 games.
Swiatek picked up an injury in her training the day before her win over Puig and was initially concerned she may not be able to compete in her first grand slam third round. It would be a shame were that injury to hinder her in the biggest match of her career to date. Halep remains the heavy favourite but with her scary power, Swiatek is not one to be written off lightly. “I know it’s hard to play the biggest star, but I always want it and now I have a chance. I will try to show my good tennis, but it’s going to be tough.” the Pole said.
Prediction – Simona Halep in three sets