Halep booked her spot in the fourth round with a straight sets win over the young but talented Russian Daria Kasatkina 6-0, 7-5 as she produced 25 winners and 13 unforced errors in the process. This was her 15th win on clay this season as opposed to just two losses. The 25-yr old and former French Open finalist (2014) is aiming to reach the quarterfinal of the French Open for just the second time in her career.
The 3rd seed, who is clearly one of the favorites after winning the Madrid Open and reaching the Rome open final, is yet to drop a set at the tournament as she raised the level of her game in each round by simplifying her methods of play.
Standing between Halep and her 2nd ever French Open quarterfinal appearance is the No 21 seed Carla Suarez Navarro.
Navarro fought past Russian 14th seed Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-4 in the third round. The Spanish clay court specialist has been in impressive form at this year’s French Open so far without relinquishing a set, just like Halep. But the 28-yr old has not played her best this clay season as she failed to go beyond the quarterfinals in any clay-court tournament in 2017.
She was hampered by a shoulder injury during the hard court season but however has maintained a steady form in clay by reaching the quarterfinals at Stuttgart and Strasbourg and the round of 16 in Madrid before losing in the first round in Rome against Lauren Davis.
The rivalry between Halep and Suarez Navarro will witness its 12th edition on Monday when the two will face off against each other for a spot in the quarterfinals. Halep leads their overall Head-2-head tally 6-5, but the Spaniard has won all of their last four meetings on clay, which includes their encounter at the French open 2013.
Under the circumstances, this match might prove to be a massive test for Halep as Suarez Navarro, attempting to reach the quarterfinals at French open for the 3rd time in her career, having got that far in 2008 and 2014, can be a “crafty” player on the dirt with great movements and amazing single-handed backhand.