French Open 2020: Halep cruises by Begu as Anisimova awaits again at Roland Garros

By John Skilbeck 1 October 2020 87
French Open 2020: Halep cruises by Begu as Anisimova awaits again at Roland Garros

Simona Halep took a confident step through to the French Open third round to set up a Roland Garros rematch against Amanda Anisimova.

Top seed Halep beat her fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3 6-4 on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, extending a career win-loss record to 8-0 against her countrywoman.

Halep did not have it all her own way, with Begu recovering from an early break in the second set to get back on terms, but there was no real cause for concern for the 2018 Roland Garros champion.

She broke again in the ninth game and served out to set up a clash in the last 32 with American teenager Anisimova, who caused a huge shock by beating Halep, who was defending her title, in the quarter-finals last year.

Two-time slam champion Halep, who came into the tournament fresh from winning the Internazionali d'Italia, and 19-year-old Anisimova have only played each other on that one occasion, so their reunion on the Paris clay promises to be unmissable.

The presence of Serena Williams in Halep's side of the draw had suggested a tantalising semi-final may have been in store, with the veteran American chasing a 24th grand slam title.

But news on Wednesday in Paris of Williams' injury-enforced withdrawal from the tournament means that will no longer be a distraction and she can remain entirely focused on the challenge posed by Anisimova.

Halep has now won a career-high 16 consecutive matches since losing to Garbine Muguruza in the Australian Open semi-finals, collecting titles in Dubai, Prague and Rome along the way.

Data slam: Halep rallies behind first-serve factor

The 5ft 6in Halep will never possess the most fearsome serve in the game, given her height, and a fastest delivery of 103 miles per hour in this contest - in the closing game - was hardly one built to intimidate.

But Halep makes the most of her delivery, and she has been landing first serves well so far in Paris, meaning her weaker second delivery has not often been a factor.

She put 80 per cent of first serves into play in this contest, and won the point from 29 of those successful 39 deliveries for a healthy 74 per cent share.

Winning five of seven points at the net also helped Halep make smooth progress.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Halep - 15/14
Begu - 22/29

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Halep - 2/1
Begu - 1/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Halep - 4/10
Begu - 2/2

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John Skilbeck

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