Suarez Navarro no match for Halep
Originally published on 05/06/17 00:00
The 2014 runner-up is bidding to win her first Grand Slam title and to become the new world No.1, and she remains firmly on course to fulfil that dream.
It was a faultless display from the Romanian, who took just 60 minutes to inflict a heavy defeat on a clay-court specialist. The No.3 seed dictated play from the outset with her forehand, and her opponent never settled.
“I think I played my best match here this year,” remarked a delighted Halep. “She is a very good player on a clay-court but I think I played very well. I just pushed her back and tried to be aggressive, and I did it pretty well. I was extra motivated because I really like this court and I love to play quarter-finals again.
“I feel good, I feel confident as well and I've started this tournament pretty well. Day by day I played better so this is the most important thing. I put the emotions to one side and played my best tennis on court. I’m looking forward to the next one and hope to play as today.”
Halep’s last eight opponent will be Elina Svitolina. The Ukrainian battled back from the brink of defeat to stun Petra Martic and record a 4-6 6-3 7-5 success.
Martic appeared destined to reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final when she established a commanding 5-2 third set lead, however the No.5 seed upped the aggression and reeled off five games in succession to snatch victory.
Svitolina, who has now extended her winning run to nine matches, had a medical timeout for a lower back issue prior to the deciding set, but she appeared unhindered as she made her opponent pay for her indecision.
“It was amazing tennis from Petra today, she was really striking the ball well,” said the Ukrainian after her gritty win. ‘I was trying to find my way and I was very happy that I could come back in the second set. I decided to give everything I have and stay very strong mentally. Today I was struggling with my injury, but hopefully I can recover well and be strong for the quarter-final.”
Caroline Garcia is through to her first Grand Slam quarter-final after a nervy 6-2 6-4 win over Alize Cornet. It was an eagerly-anticipated match-up between two Fed Cup teammates who are no longer on speaking terms, but the contest never really caught fire.
Garcia dictated play with her backhand and Cornet rarely threatened. Garcia did get anxious in the later stages, though, but her opponent helped her across the winning line.
Afterwards, a delighted Garcia said: “I’m really happy with the match I played. My team helped me do a lot of work and it really made a difference. It’s not finished. I still have a quarter-final to play. I don’t want to know who I’m playing. I just want to enjoy this win.”
Karolina Pliskova will be Garcia’s last eight opponent. The Czech edged a dramatic duel with Veronica Cepede Royg 2-6 6-3 6-4 to keep her title aspirations alive.
“I am so happy, you cannot imagine,” said Pliskova. She (Royg) played really well and she deserves to be in the quarters as well. I didn't feel very well today so I am really glad that I am through.”