French Open Day 4 wrapup: Halep cruises; Svitolina battles through; Azarenka upset
Photo: Reuters

The second round of the French Open began on Wednesday as the top half of the draw was in action. Winners included top seed Simona Halepthird seed Elina Svitolina and fifth seed Kiki Bertens while 10th seed Victoria Azarenka23rd seed Yulia Putintseva and 32nd seed Barbora Strycova were upset victims.

Halep eases into third round; Svitolina, Bertens go the distance

Halep picked up her 16th consecutive match win with a comfortable 6-3, 6-4 victory over countrywoman Irina-Camelia Begu. The top seed won 12 of the first 14 points to race out to a 3-0 lead before Begu broke back to make it 3-2. 

Halep then broke in the eighth game and served out the set and after early breaks were traded in the second set, the 2018 champion gained the advantage from a Begu forehand error to go up 5-4. She got through her final service game to advance in an hour and a half.

"It's never easy to play against a Romanian and against Irina, we played so many times, it's never easy", she said after the match. "She's a very strong opponent and she's very 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."

Svitolina overcame a challenge from Renata Zarazua, getting past the Mexican qualifier 6-3, 0-6, 6-2 in an hour, 35 minutes. The Ukrainian was quickly ahead 4-0 in the first set thanks to 11 unforced errors from Zarazua until the qualifier clawed back to 4-3.

The third seed won the last two games before a stunning 6-0 second set by Zarazua, coaxing 16 errors out of Svitolina as the world number 178 levelled the match. The final set was at 2-2 before the Ukrainian won the final four games to get over the line.

Svitolina was impressed with the game of the Mexican, saying "she's a solid player. She moves the ball really good. For her small height, I think she moves quite good...I think in the end she should be really proud of her performance today. She is from a country with not lots of support and not so many players who achieved big things."

Bertens was pushed to the limit against Sara Errani before ultimately prevailing 7-6 (5), 3-6, 9-7 in three hours, 11 minutes. The Italian, a finalist in 2012, jumped out to a 3-0 lead, stretched it to 5-2, served for the set at 6-5, but was unable to close it out as the Dutchwoman prevailed in a tiebreaker.

After four consecutive breaks to open the second set, Errani finished strong, breaking once more in the ninth game to level the match. From 2-2 in the decider, there were ten straight breaks of serve, including the Italian serving for the match three times only to be pegged back on each occasion.

Serving to stay in the match at 8-7, Errani saved one match point with an underhand serve, but Bertens eventually broke to finally close out the victory. 

Bertens battled injury and a tough opponent to move on/Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Bertens battled injury and a tough opponent to move on/Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

"It was a roller-coaster, to be honest", she said afterwards. "Physically, I didn't feel great. I was cramping, I think everyone could see that. But it was weird because I didn't really feel tired, but I was sweating a lot, I was cold. So I don't know what it really was, maybe a little bit of tension of course in the body.

"I kept on fighting and I still don't know how I managed to get the win."

Azarenka, Putintseva, Strycova ousted

Azarenka was blitzed in a surprisingly one-sided loss to Anna Schmiedlova 6-2, 6-2. The Slovak, down to 186th in the rankings, due to injury, broke the US Open finalist four times in the one hour, 32 minute match.

Schmiedlova dominated Azarenka from start to finish/Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Schmiedlova dominated Azarenka from start to finish/Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

"I'm extremely happy because it's my favorite Grand Slam and favorite tournament of the year. I always play good here. I had many chances in the last couple of years. I had match points or really close matches. I always play good, just didn't close it.

"I think she's a great player. She played great in US Open. I was a little bit scared before the match. But I started well and i'm really happy how I managed to play all match."

Putintseva was upset by Argentine qualifier Nadia Podoroska 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 while Strycova fell to countrywoman Barbora Krejcikova 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. 

Other results

Other seeded winners were 16th seed Elise Mertens, who defeated Kaia Kanepi 6-4, 7-5, 20th seed Maria Sakkari, a victor over Russian qualifier Kamilla Rakhimova 7-6 (0), 6-2, 25th seed Amanda Anisimova, crushing Bernarda Pera 6-2, 6-0 and 27th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova, who eased past lucky loser Astra Sharma 6-3, 6-3.

To round out the winners, Caroline Garcia knocked off Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-6 (5), 6-2, Iga Swiatek handled Su-wei Hsieh 6-1, 6-4, Katerina Siniakova defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 6-4, Eugenie Bouchard rallied past Daria Gavrilova 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 and Martina Trevisan outlasted Cori Gauff 2-6, 6-4, 7-5.