Sunday, October 4, 2020

Teen Swiatek swamps Halep to head upset parade

Top-seeded Simona Halep lost to Iga Swiatek, 19, of Poland
6-1, 6-2 in 68 minutes today in the fourth round of the French
Open. File photo by Paul Bauman
    Befitting an unusual tournament, two 19-year-olds and two qualifiers reached the French Open women's or men's quarterfinals today.
   Iga Swiatek, 19, of Poland produced the most shocking upset, dismissing top-seeded Simona Halep 6-1, 6-2 in 68 minutes in Paris. The tournament was postponed from May 24-June 7 because of the coronavirus pandemic, and only 1,000 spectators are allowed per day.
   Swiatek, who ended Halep's winning streak at 17 matches, lost to the 2018 champion 6-1, 6-0 in 45 minutes at the same stage of last year's French Open.
   "I wasn't experienced at all last year," Swiatek, the 2018 Wimbledon girls singles champion, told reporters. "It was my first match in a big stadium. Since then, I've played some big matches. Right now, I feel like I can handle the pressure.
   "I remembered that last year she beat me but lost against (17-year-old) Amanda Anisimova in the next round. I thought we could do the same thing this year but just change the names around."
   Swiatek, ranked No. 54, is scheduled to play Martina Trevisan, an Italian qualifier ranked No. 159, on Tuesday. Trevisan, a 5-foot-3 (1.60-meter) left-hander, stunned fifth-seeded Kiki Bertens, a French Open semifinalist four years ago, 6-4, 6-4. 
   Swiatek and Trevisan, 26, have split two career matches. Swiatek won in straight sets on grass in Birmingham, England, last year, and Trevisan triumphed in three sets on clay in a minor-league tournament in Swiatek's hometown of Warsaw in 2017.
   In the other women's quarterfinal in the top half of the draw, third-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine is set to meet qualifier Nadia Podoroska, the top-ranked Argentine at No. 131, for the first time.
   Svitolina, a two-time French Open quarterfinalist seeking her first Grand Slam final, dispatched France's Caroline Garcia, who has plunged from a career-high No. 4 in 2018 to No. 45, 6-1, 6-3 in 63 minutes. Podoroska, 23, topped unseeded Barbora Krejcikova, a Czech formerly ranked No. 1 in doubles, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.
   Swiatek and Podoroska became the 10th and 11th female qualifiers to reach the quarterfinals at Roland Garros and the first since Yaroslava Shvedova in 2012.
   On the men's side, 19-year-old Jannik Sinner of Italy eliminated sixth-seeded Alexander Zverev, the runner-up to Dominic Thiem in the U.S. Open last month, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Zverev said afterward that he had a fever and difficulty breathing and "shouldn't have played."
   Sinner, who advanced to the second round of last year's Aptos (Calif.) Challenger one week after winning the Lexington (Ky.) Challenger, is set to face second-seeded Rafael Nadal for the first time.
   Nadal, pursuing his fourth consecutive French Open title and 13th overall, overwhelmed Sebastian Korda, a 20-year-old qualifier from Bradenton, Fla., 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 in 1 hour, 55 minutes.   
   The third-seeded Thiem outlasted 20-year-old wild card Hugo Gaston, a 5-foot-8 (1.73-meter) left-hander from France, 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 6-3 in 3 hours, 32 minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier.
   "I think it was an amazing match by both of us," Thiem, seeking his third consecutive French Open final, said in an on-court interview. "I haven't seen for a very long time a player with such a big touch in his hands. His drop shots are just from another planet; I was sprinting like 400 times to the net. All the credit to him. If he continues like this, he's going to be a huge, huge player and make a lot of joy in this stadium in the future."
   Thiem is set to play 12th-seeded Diego Schwartzman, a 5-foot-7 (1.70-meter), 141-pound (64-kilogram) Argentine who outclassed Lorenzo Sonego of Italy 6-1, 6-3, 6-4.
   Thiem is 6-2 against Schwartzman, who beat Nadal for the first time in 10 meetings in the Italian Open quarterfinals two weeks ago. 
   In women's doubles, seventh-seeded Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara of Japan topped 10th-seeded Hayley Carter of Hilton Head Island, S.C., and Luisa Stefani of Brazil 6-4, 7-5 to reach their first Grand Slam quarterfinal together.
   The 5-foot-1 (1.54-meter) Aoyama, a semifinalist in women's doubles with Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa at Wimbledon in 2013, and Shibahara, a 22-year-old native of Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area, are scheduled to play 14th-seeded Alexa Guarachi, a U.S. native who plays for Chile, and Desirae Krawczyk, a native of Palm Desert, Calif. 
   Guarachi and Krawczyk — who starred at Alabama and Arizona State, respectively — ousted top-seeded Hsieh Su-Wei of Chinese Taipei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic, 6-4, 7-5.  
   In the first round of boys singles, ninth-seeded Arthur Fery, a Stanford freshman from Great Britain, beat French wild card Mehdi Sadaoui 6-4, 6-3.

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