Simona Halep dropped just one game when she faced Iga Swiatek at the same stage of the French Open in…
Simona Halep dropped just one game when she faced Iga Swiatek at the same stage of the French Open in 2019 – can Swiatek do better this time around?
Simona Halep vs Iga Swiatek | French Open R16 | 4/10/2020, 10am BSTOver 20.5 games 23/20 Bet Now! New Customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org.
Halep vs Swiatek is live from Roland Garros on Sunday 4 October, 11am local/10am BST
Champion at Roland Garros in 2018, Simona Halep continues to look every inch the tournament favourite as she extended her winning streak to 17 matches, exacting revenge on Amanda Anisimova for a quarterfinal defeat at last year’s French Open by allowing the American teenager just a single game.
In the round of 16 in 2019, it was Iga Swiatek who got just one game from Halep – now they meet again at the same stage. With 16 months’ worth of experience since that drubbing, will Swiatek do better in 2020?
Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.
How to watch Halep vs Swiatek live
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Halep vs Swiatek: Head-to-head
Simona Halep and Iga Swiatek have only played once – at last year’s French Open, when Halep won 6-1, 6-0.
Halep vs Swiatek: Preview
For the second round in a row, Simona Halep faces a teenager – and a player she first took on at last year’s French Open. Against Amanda Anisimova, who had fairly blasted Halep, then the defending champion, off the court 6-2, 6-4 in the 2019 quarterfinals, Halep made it clear that she is in a very different place in 2020. The match was as close as it was ever going to get in the second game, when Halep, having already broken on an Anisimova double fault, faced five break points to consolidate. She did, and never looked back from there, winning 6-0, 6-1 in 56 minutes.
There are two sides to this story: One is that Anisimova has been looking a little lost all season, and was not playing anywhere as near as well as she did in 2019; the other is that Halep changed her tactics, approached the match in a completely different way, and stayed close to the baseline, playing aggressive, looking to crowd and outmaneouvre the tall American. It worked, and Halep continues to look the French Open favourite she’s been anointed: Energised, fit and seemingly relaxed and confident, not labouring under the burden of expectation which was on her shoulders as defending champion.
This is not great news for Iga Swiatek, who only got one game from Halep last year. But then, Swiatek was facing a top-10 player for the first time then, having her first deep run at a Grand Slam, ranked world no. 104 after a run to the WTA Lugano final. In the seven events she played in the remainder of 2019, she got wins over Caroline Wozniacki, Caroline Garcia; in January, she reached the last 16 of the Australian Open for the first time, beating Donna Vekic and very narrowly losing to Anett Kontaveit in a fantastic three-set battle; she made the third round of the US Open. So far at Roland Garros, she’s beaten 2019 runner-up Marketa Vondrousova, the very tricky Su-Wei Hsieh, and unleashed a storm of winners on former semifinalist Eugenie Bouchard.
Swiatek, still just 19 and only two years removed from winning the junior Wimbledon title, is a really talented young player but does she have it in her to beat Halep on Sunday? It’s not impossible. Swiatek’s strength is that she has a lot of ways to win points – she can unleash power when it’s required, but also has a devastating line in drop shots, will attack the net, has plenty of variety. I’m not sure, however, that her serve is stable enough, or that she has the tactical clarity, to beat a player who will smother her with depth from the baseline and who blends the ability to hit deep with the capacity to keep unforced errors down. I think it will be a lot closer than last year’s encounter – I can even see Swiatek taking a set – but Halep just seems so hard to beat right now.