Barely 18 months ago on this very court, Simona Halep gave a harsh dose of reality to Iga Swiatek, crushing the young Pole 6-1 6-0 in just 45 minutes in the fourth round. A year later, the two players found themselves playing the opposite roles, in what proved to be a stunning reverse for the Romanian.
Swiatek was not to be underestimated coming into the match, with the Pole a player of great promise and admirable talent, but Halep always seemed bound to enjoy the last laugh. After all, she had won two titles in as many events since the season resumed, both on the clay, and arrived into the second week at the French Open riding a 17-match winning streak. She was, in the eyes of all, the overwhelming favourite to lift the title in Paris and add to her two Grand Slams.
Having dispatched Sara Sorribes Tormo, Irina-Camelia Begu and Amanda Anisimova in the first week, hardly breaking a sweat in the process, Halep looked every inch the champion elect. Instead, in 19-year-old Swiatek demonstrated just how much she had learned since that defeat last year, stunning the top seed 6-1 6-2 with a devastating performance full of power and guile to throw the women’s draw wide open.
The Polish teenager landed 30 winners and won 81% of her first serve points, with Halep, who is quite possibly the greatest defender in the women’s game, not able to manufacture a single break point in the whole match. And, despite what the scoreline might suggest, Halep was not even particularly off her game. She committed a mere 15 unforced errors, but could not contain Swiatek who swept her aside.
With that win, world #54 Swiatek advanced to her maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal, and has not yet dropped a set in Paris. There, she will face another surprise quarterfinalist in the shape of Martina Trevisan. The Italian qualifier pulled off a shock of her own by ousting the fifth seed Kiki Bertens 6-4 6-4 in 95 minutes.
Trevisan, who is making her French Open main draw debut this year, had not beaten a top 100 player in her last 16 matches coming into Paris. But she has found a rich vein of form in the French capital. She did benefit from Camila Giorgi’s retirement midway through their first-round clash, but she has taken full advantage of her good fortune, beating the rising star Coco Gauff in the second round.
Trevisan then saved two match points in a three-set win over Maria Sakkari, before she stunned Bertens on Court Suzanne-Lenglen to claim her first top-ten win. Now, both women find themselves with a huge opportunity to reach their first Grand Slam semifinal. And with Swiatek seemingly in the form of her life, do not be surprised to see her claim a place in the last four.
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