Harry Potter fan Halep glides into French Open fourth round

Sat May 31, 2014 9:34am EDT
 
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By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - No wonder Harry Potter is her bedside book - Simona Halep had too many tricks up her sleeve for Spaniard Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor as the fourth seed glided into the fourth round of the French Open with a 6-3 6-0 win on Saturday.

The wily Romanian, the highest seed left in the draw after Serena Williams, Li Na and Agnieszka Radwanska were knocked out early, found perfect angles and defended superbly to counter Torro-Flor's powerful forehand in Paris.

"It's not a surprise because I'm more confident now in myself, and I feel the ball really good here at the French Open," said Halep, who has won more titles in the last 12 months than any other woman except Williams.

Halep, who has dropped only 11 games in three straight-set wins, will next meet American 15th seed Sloane Stephens for a place in the quarter-finals.

Stephens was in less devastating form than in her first two matches but she was still too strong for Ekaterina Makarova in a 6-3 6-4 win over the Russian left-hander.

The American has shown her consistency on the big stage by reaching the fourth round at six successive grand slam events, the only active woman to do so, but her ability to blow hot and cold on the WTA Tour has prevented her from climbing further up the rankings. Makarova hit a return of serve wide to lose the first set and Stephens broke in the first game of the second set to set up the platform for a straightforward victory, even if she did have her serve broken later in the set.

Roland Garros has not been a happy hunting ground for Ana Ivanovic since she won the title in 2008 and the popular Serbian failed to break that jinx on Saturday as she lost 6-3 6-3 to Czech Lucie Safarova. The 23rd seeded Safarova, who has a 5-2 record against the 11th seed having won their last five encounters, was never really bothered by Ivanovic's uncontrolled power.

  Continued...

 
Simona Halep of Romania returns a forehand to Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor of Spain during their women's singles match at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris May 31, 2014.     REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier