French Open

‘Surprised’ Swiatek stuns top seed Halep to reach quarterfinals

Agence France-Presse
‘Surprised’ Swiatek stuns top seed Halep to reach quarterfinals

Poland's Iga Swiatek celebrates after winning against Romania's Simona Halep during their women's singles fourth round tennis match on Day 8 of The Roland Garros 2020 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on October 4, 2020. (Photo by MARTIN BUREAU / AFP)


‘I am surprised I could do this,’ says 19-year-old Iga Swiatek after booting out top seed Simona Halep

Top seed and 2018 champion Simona Halep was sent crashing out of Roland Garros on Sunday, October 4, when Polish teenager Iga Swiatek stormed to a shock 6-1, 6-2 victory to reach the quarterfinals.

“I am surprised I could do this,” admitted Swiatek, just 19 and ranked 54 in the world.

“I felt like I played a great match,” added Swiatek after ending the 17-match winning streak of Halep who was the overwhelming favorite in the absence of 2019 champion Ashleigh Barty and US Open winner Naomi Osaka and the injury-enforced withdrawal of Serena Williams.

Swiatek, who will be playing in her first quarterfinals at the majors, will take on another surprise performer in Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan as they vie for a place in the last 4.

Ranked 159, Trevisan registered a surprise 6-4, 6-4 victory over Dutch 5th seed Kiki Bertens to advance to the quarterfinals.

The 26-year-old Trevisan had not won a Grand Slam main draw match before this tournament. 

“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.

It was a stunning turnaround for Swiatek, 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 4.

The teenager tightened her grip, breaking in the first game of the second set with Halep having to fight off 4 break points in the third game to stay afloat.

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

Halep, 29, saved 5 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. –

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