June 4, 2018 / 10:41 AM / 4 months ago

Tennis: Simona Halep too good for Mertens as she reaches last eight

PARIS (Reuters) - World number one Simona Halep blazed into the French Open quarter-finals by crushing Belgian Elise Mertens 6-2 6-1 as she showed her full range of weapons on Monday.

Romanian Halep, twice a runner-up at Roland Garros, started slowly but once she found her groove, there was nothing the 16th seed could do to avoid a one-sided defeat.

Halep won the last nine games on Court Philippe Chatrier to set up a meeting with either German Angelique Kerber or local favourite Caroline Garcia.

Mertens entered the tournament having won two second-tier events on clay including 16 wins and one defeat, albeit against Halep last month in Madrid when she was comprehensively beaten.

Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 4, 2018 Belgium's Elise Mertens and Romania's Simona Halep shake hands after their fourth round match REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

The story was the same on Monday as Halep, a French Open finalist in 2014 and 2017, broke for 2-1 in the opening set and never looked back as she outmanoeuvred Mertens, who was sent chasing the ball all over the court.

The Belgian pulled a break back in the second set but then trailed 5-0 as the top seed punched a ticket for the last eight when Mertens served a double fault on the first match point.

“It was not that easy, she is a tough opponent,” said Halep, who is chasing her maiden Grand Slam title.

“I was a bit nervous at the start of the match but I played my best match here at Roland Garros.

“I need to be more aggressive and try to finish the points because I don’t hit so many winners.”

Slideshow (2 Images)

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris

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