Romania’s Simona Halep completed a remarkable comeback to reach the French Open semifinals on Wednesday, fighting back for a 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-0 win over fifth-seed Ukrainian Elina Svitolina.
Halep entered Wednesday’s quarterfinal having not lost a set all tournament long, but quickly fell behind 5-0 in the opener, before losing the set 6-3. The fifth-seed and 2014 finalist then fell behind 1-5 in the second set.
After trimming the deficit to 2-5, Halep said:
“I just sat down at 5-2, and I sad that the match is lost. That’s it. It’s over. And then I started to feel more relaxed—maybe because I thought it was finished—and it came.”
And it came quickly. Halep rattled off the next five games to take a 6-5 lead, and Svitolina had to save four set points to force the frame into a tiebreaker. Svitolina set up match point, but Halep saved it, and a net cord winner gave Halep the set and the momentum.
She played flawless tennis in the third set, breaking in the opening game and never looked back, handing Svitolina a third-set bagel, committing just one unforced error in the process.
“I just tried to make her move more, to open [up] the court, and it came. I don’t know how, but it was really good,” said Halep. “But I believed that it was gonna come; it’s gonna turn something around, and that’s it. I’m just happy. I am not thinking about how it was. I just take the fight thing,that I was fighting till the end.”
Halep moves on to play second-seed Karolina Pliskova, who ended the dream run of France’s Caroline Garcia with a 7-6(3), 6-4 win on Wednesday.
“Before this tournament I was struggling on clay with almost everything,” Pliskova said afterwards. “I didn’t have my weapons on my side and the movement was terrible. I don’t think it’s better [now], but somehow I’m just winning. Today I can finally say I felt a little bit better on the court compared to the last matches.”
The other women’s singles semifinal will see Latvian teenager Jelena Ostapenko take on Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky.