Halep through in a hurry

  • Last Updated: May 31 2014, 16:21 BST

A review of Saturday's women's singles action at the French Open, including wins for Simona Halep and Sloane Stephens.

Simona Halep: Fourth seed cruised past Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor
Simona Halep: Fourth seed cruised past Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor

Simona Halep continued her swift progress through the draw to ease into the fourth round of the French Open.

The world number four is the highest seed left and the second favourite for the title behind Maria Sharapova despite only having reached one grand slam quarter-final.

Halep, who beat Britain's Heather Watson in round two, has not come close to losing a set so far and she chalked up a second love set of the week in beating Spain's Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor 6-3 6-0.

Halep, who is reading Harry Potter to help improve her English, did not expect to be the highest seed left at this stage of the tournament.

She said: "The first three seeds, they lost. That's a surprise for everyone.

"It's not easy to be the first seeded now in the tournament. But I try just to keep out from me the pressure and just to play every match.

"I played against (Stephens) in Australia a few years ago and she beat me very fast. Now I think I'm more prepared than that moment.

"I feel really great now, because I won in two sets, the third match here where I played really good tennis. It's not a surprise, because I'm more confident now in myself, and I'm feeling the ball really good."

The 22-year-old should face her first real test in the next round against 15th seed Sloane Stephens, who is once again showing her best form in the grand slams.

Stephens is through to the second week at a sixth consecutive grand slam after defeating big-hitting Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-3 6-4.

Stephens and Halep have met three times before, with the American having won the last two.

Svetlana Kuznetsova knocked out fifth seed Petra Kvitova in a three-hour epic but another former French Open champion is heading home after Lucie Safarova defeated Ana Ivanovic.

Ivanovic has been having her best season since winning the title in Paris in 2008 but had lost her previous four matches against left-hander Safarova.

It was the same story on Saturday as the Czech won 6-3 6-3 to reach the fourth round at a grand slam for the first time in seven years.

Ivanovic had been seen as one of the favourites to reach the final from the bottom half of the draw and she was hugely disappointed with her performance.

She said: "My clay-court season was really good. I was very happy about that.

"Everyone was talking about seeds coming out, but not in my part (of the draw). I had a really tough opponent today. I lost to her a lot of times before. So I knew she was going to be dangerous opponent.

"I'm very disappointed about my loss today. It's hard to tell what can happen but definitely this loss is tough."

Kuznetsova and Kvitova was a meeting of two former grand slam champions and it took three hours and 13 minutes to separate them.

After winning the opening set on a tie-break, Kvitova was hampered by a right thigh problem for which she twice received treatment off court.

The Czech produced some excellent tennis, particularly when she was behind in the decider, but she will feel this was an opportunity missed after twice serving for the match.

Kuznetsova, the champion in 2009, is always a threat on clay and next meets Safarova, who held match point against eventual Australian Open champion Li Na in the third round in Melbourne in January.

The 27th seed said: "I knew I was going to go out there, and I was going to give everything I could and run every mile, every metre I could, and put as many balls back, try to be aggressive.

"Petra was inside the court and I was next to the fans. But I just tried my best. I was very strong mentally and I'm really happy with that.

"I feel really good. I feel really excited, happy. I really feel almost like Rafa out there."

Sixth seed Jelena Jankovic will meet 10th seed Sara Errani after both raced through their third-round matches.
Jankovic defeated Romania's Sorana Cirstea 6-1 6-2 while Errani, the runner-up in 2012, dropped just one game against Israel's Julia Glushko.