Simona Halep  extended her winning streak to 16 matches on Wednesday, with the top seed producing a 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Romanian compatriot Irina-Camelia Begu at the French Open.

The win in 84 minutes puts the 2018 tournament champion into the third round after winning 15 of 16 completed sets against her countrywoman.

Halep stands a perfect 8-0 in the lifetime series which stretch back to junior days.

“It’s never easy to play against a Romanian and against Irina, we played so many times,” the winner said.

Elina Svitolina. Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd/Alamy Live News

“She’s a very strong opponent, also powerful, the serve is really strong. Today the court was heavy so I couldn’t return very well.

“But I managed well in the end and I think I played the right game when I needed to.”

Halep has won her last two tournaments since the tennis COVID-19 lockdown was lifted in August, taking titles in Prague and Rome last weekend; before the pause last March, she also took the honours in Dubai..

Elina Svitolina, seeded third, won the fourth match of her career in which she lost a set to love, overcoming Mexican qualifier Renata Zarazua 6-3, 0-6, 6-2.

Renata Zarazua. Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd/Alamy Live News

The No. 178 challenger was the first Mexican woman to win a match in the Open Era; she beat France’s Elsa Jacquemot in the first round here..

Svitolina won the first set but collapsed completely in the second as her unfancied opponent swept it 6-0. The bloom went off in the third as the seed secured the win. 
“Honestly I’m still questioning myself because I was a bit of a drop. I don’t remember much of the second set,” Svitolina said. “maybe I was
dreaming today.

“I was maybe going for too much. In the end when I was playing really good, I was playing aggressive, I was going for my shots. 

“At the end she was quite solid from the baseline, took her chances, didn’t miss so much.”

Zarazua was playing a Top 20 opponent for the first time in her career on the day of her 23rd birthday.

“I didn’t know anything about her coming into the match, so I had to really check her game out,” Svitolina said.

“I also didn’t see her previous match, the one she played against French girl. That was a little bit of a surprise for me.”

Anna Katerina Schmiedlova receives medical treatment. Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd/Alamy Live News

Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, added another former No. 1 to her victim’s list this week, beating Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 6-2 after taking out Venus Williams in the opening round.

The winner took a fall in the first set as her leg slipped out from under her as she swung through a backhand, ending up on her knees.

“It was definitely a stressful moment. I was a little bit in shock, it was kind of scary,” she said.

“Sometimes I’ve fallen on that knee, the one that had surgery.I started to think about it.

“But with the adrenaline, I wanted to fight and win. After that I didn’t feel it. I hope I won’t feel any pain tomorrow. We will see.”


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